Diet is important to our overall health, but certain foods have been found to benefit specific areas of the body. Vision is an important part of how we interact with the world. When eye health declines, people look for remedies. Corrective wear, treatments, and surgeries are all options for responding to failing eyesight, but eating a well-rounded diet is a great way to boost eye health from the start. Here is a guide to eating healthy for your eyes.
1 – Carrots
Growing up, most people are told that carrots are good for their eyes, but are never told why. It is a misunderstanding that carrots will improve eye vision, but they can help prevent it from worsening. Carrots are great sources of vitamin A, which may protect against macular degeneration. Beta carotene is what gives foods an orange color, and this helps to keep your retinas functioning. Furthermore, eating carrots protects the body from lack of vitamin A, which can cause blindness. Despite the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, there is an unfortunate and unnecessary increase in vitamin A deficiency in the developing world. Vitamin A deficiency can even cause xeropthalmia – a condition where tear production stops and corneal ulcers develop.
2 – Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, and other leafy vegetables are excellent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies on both nutrients found that they lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts, and help reduce ultraviolet damage. Vitamin E, found in leafy greens, may also reduce signs of ultraviolet damage to eye lens cells.
3 – Eggs
Once thought to be bad for cholesterol, eggs have found a special place among people concerned about eye health. Eggs contain omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, lutein, and zeaxanthin – the last two of which are primarily found in the yolk. Eggs do not contain as much lutein as leafy greens, but research that found the body absorbed antioxidants better from eggs than from vegetables. One egg per day is generally not unhealthy, but people with diet restrictions should consult with their doctors before consuming any.
4 – Fatty Fish
Fish that is high in Omega-3 fatty acid are great for maintaining eye health (and can sharpen brain functioning as well). Fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and trout are rich in DHA. DHA is a fatty acid naturally found in the retina. Low levels of DHA have been linked to dry eye syndrome. Additionally, eating omega-3 fatty acid fish may prevent plaque, which can cause macular degeneration, from forming.
5 – Avocados
Avocadoes are filled with vitamins and nutrients. They are great sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, lutein, folate, and monounsaturated fat. Linked to better heart health and eye health, avocados also help prevent high blood pressure, which can be dangerous for weakened blood vessels leading to the eyes. As another source of beta-carotene, the fruit also protects against macular degeneration and cataracts.
Contact Worthington Ophthalmology today to schedule an eye appointment, and to learn more about maintaining optimal ocular health.