8 foods that can improve your health and vision
We value our eyesight and want to have the best vision possible for many years. Eating foods rich in eye-friendly vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals might help improve your vision and overall eye health. Adding specific foods that contain nutrients beneficial to your eye health might also help you avoid premature glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. In addition, these foods might help with early glaucoma treatment.
Nutrients Beneficial To Eye Health
Many of the natural foods we eat on a daily or weekly basis contain significant amounts of nutrients to help support our vision. You might wonder, can glaucoma be cured if caught early? Eating the right types of foods and scheduling regular visits to your local optometrist for eye exams might help with early glaucoma detection and treatment.
Key nutrients that can help improve eye health include:
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in plants and the cells of human eyes. Their main function is to support the retina, block UV rays, and provide antioxidants essential for reducing damage caused by free radicals. You can find lutein and zeaxanthin in leafy greens, colorful vegetables, and egg yolks.
Vitamin A is crucial for the health of the cornea and the ability to see in low-light conditions. Vitamin A, found mostly in yellow or orange fruits and vegetables, might help reduce cataracts and macular degeneration. Our bodies don’t make vitamin A naturally, so you must eat foods high in this vitamin for overall eye health.
Vitamin C is another nutrient that must come from the food we consume. Vitamin C is a powerful source of antioxidants that can help protect our bodies from damaging free radicals, support collagen production, and help boost our immune system. Citrus and bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin E also contains antioxidants that help protect your eyes from free radical damage. You can find high levels of vitamin E in salmon, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
The trace mineral zinc helps bring vitamin A stored in your liver to the retina to produce melanin, which is a protective pigment for the eyes. Zinc deficiency might lead to poor night vision and cataracts. You can find rich sources of zinc in foods like shellfish, oysters, nuts, and seeds.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids found in most fish and shellfish. They’re good for the heart and the brain and can help reduce macular degeneration and ward off dry eyes.
Many stores in the Scranton, Pennsylvania, area carry an expansive supply of the vitamins and minerals we’ve listed here for overall health and improved eye vision. Be sure to visit your local Scranton farmers market and produce stands to pick up a variety of foods we recommend and improve your eye health.
“Assortment of nuts and seeds in white bowls and spoons” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by wuestenigel
Nuts are high in vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. When purchasing nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, and Brazil nuts, look for fresh ones kept in a cool place to avoid buying nuts that have turned rancid.
Sesame, chia, hemp, flax, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants. You can add seeds to salads, grind them into seed butter, or eat them as a snack.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and shellfish can help with visual development and overall eye health. Look for healthy oil-rich fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, tuna, shrimp, oysters, and herring. Eating fish with omega-3 fatty acids can also help prevent dry eyes.
Yellow vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips contain large amounts of vitamin A and beta carotene. Vitamin A and beta carotene help support the retina of the eye and might help prevent eye infections. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin E, which is helpful in reducing damage caused by free radicals.
Whole eggs, including the yolk, contain large amounts of lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc. These important nutrients are the foundation of good eye health. Eggs also contain significant amounts of vitamins E and A, both of which help fight free radical damage.
Simply said, you can’t eat too many leafy greens. Greens like spinach, Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, arugula, beet greens, cabbage, turnip greens, and mustard greens are high in vitamin A, vitamin K, antioxidants, and lutein, all of which support eye health. By adding leafy greens to your daily diet, you’re helping reduce macular degeneration and other ocular conditions.
Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes, tangerines, and kumquats are all members of the citrus family that contain lots of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for overall health and the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues. Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system, fight free radicals, and maintain cartilage, bones, and teeth. Because vitamin C is instrumental in forming the protein collagen, consuming vitamin C can help support the structure of the eye as well as the blood vessels within it. In addition, eating citrus fruits high in vitamin C might help prevent nuclear cataracts and macular degeneration.
Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries are rich in anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. Anthocyanins can help improve vision for those who have normal-tension glaucoma and help protect the retina from sun damage.
All of us at Northeastern Eye Institute hope you enjoy incorporating these nutrient-dense foods into your diet. Which of these foods that help improve your vision is your favorite? Do you have a recipe using some of these items that you’d like to share? If so, please let us know, and we’ll add the recipe and your favorite eye-friendly foods to our list.
If you live in the Scranton area and think you might be experiencing symptoms of glaucoma, cataracts, or other ocular issues, please contact our team at Northeastern Eye Institute for a consultation and an eye exam.