Everyone has heard that carrots are rich in nutrients that promote healthy eyes-but did you know there are several other eye-friendly foods you can incorporate into your diet? Here are 8 foods that can help you attain good ocular health!
Red Bell Peppers
Bell peppers provide the most vitamin C per calorie – providing an excellent source of nutrition to the eyes. Studies suggest it can decrease the risk of developing visually significant cataracts. Bright colored peppers also provide eye-healthy vitamins A and E. Heat can destroy the integrity of vitamin C, so go raw when you can!
Dark, Leafy Greens
Spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and kale are packed with vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Because our bodies do not produce lutein and zeaxanthin naturally, we must acquire them from our diets. These nutrients absorb blue light rays-acting as a sunscreen for your eyes, protecting you from long-term eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Orange-colored fruits and vegetables such as mangos, cantaloupes, carrots, and sweet potatoes provide a substantial amount of beta-carotene, which is a form of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps your visual system adjust to dim lighting more efficiently, boosting your night vision!
In addition to being an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin year round, squash also consists of omega-3 fatty acids. Science has found that a healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet plays a significant role in the prevention of chronic dry eye disease.
Acai, goji berries, and blueberries and packed with antioxidants, protecting your macula (the area responsible for central vision) from free-radical damage. This helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Blueberries have also been linked to reducing your risk of cataracts and glaucoma!
Seeds and Nuts
Sunflower Seeds and Almonds
An ounce of sunflower seeds or almonds provides you with half the amount of vitamin E recommended for adults per day. Vitamin E, along with other nutrients, is a key factor scientifically found to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Fatty-fish, including salmon, trout, and tuna, provide the recommended amounts of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids needed for a healthy retina. Incorporating these fatty-acids in a daily diet have been linked to reducing the risk of macular degeneration and glaucoma. Additionally, deficient amounts have been tied to dry eye disease related inflammation.
Meat, Poultry, and Eggs
These proteins are excellent sources of zinc. Zinc helps transport vitamin A to your eyes, where it is then used to create melanin, a protective pigment layer over the retina. Additionally, egg yolks are also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin. Vegetarian? Beans are also an excellent substitution to get the zinc you need!
-Dr. Aamena S. Kazmi