We are born with only 1 pair of eyes and need to do everything we can to protect them. Every day our eyes are exposed to UV light, radiation, smoke, environmental pollutants, and many other factors like staring at computer screens that damage our eyes. Aging also puts people at greater risks for serious eye disease and other eye problems. Research has linked proper nutrition to the prevention of many common eye conditions. For instance certain nutrients such as Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamin E, Zinc, Fatty Acids and Vitamin C have been found to help protect our eyes against certain eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Taking supplements are not the only way to get the proper nutrients. Eating a diet consisting of a variety of foods is the best way to supply our body’s with the proper nutrients that it needs. Below are 5 foods that are beneficial for eye health.
- Blueberries are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Cataracts are thought to be due to oxidative damage that occurs in the retina and lens of the eye. Blueberries are jam-packed with anthocyanin’s a specific antioxidant that help protect against this oxidative damage. A study that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition” in 2012 showed that anthocyanin’s protect retinal cells from damage caused by both aging and light.
- Carrots and other orange colored fruits and vegetables like apricots and sweet potatoes are rich in Beta-Carotene. Our bodies convert Beta-Carotene from carrots into Vitamin A, which is important in the fight against vision problems like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and night blindness. Beta Carotene in research has also been shown to help prevent vision loss and worsening of Age Related Macular Degeneration when taken with other antioxidants and zinc.
- Leafy Greens like kale, spinach, and turnip greens are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin. These are the only carotenoids found in the macula and lens of the eyes. Studies show that they may have the ability to lower the risk of cataracts and Macular Degenerations.
- Oysters – Besides being an aphrodisiac oysters are rich in Zinc. Zinc is a mineral that is essential to eye health and vision. According to the AREDS trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute, researchers discovered that taking zinc, along with other antioxidants could lower the risk of developing advanced age related macular degeneration by 25%. Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food.
- Fish – Oily and fatty fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, anchovies and trout are rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Specifically these fish are full of DHA, which is found in high concentration in the retinas of the eyes. This suggests that it has an important role in eye health. Research has shown a correlation between deficiency in DHA and Dry Eye syndrome. One study concluded that Omega 3- Fatty acids play an important role in dry eye syndrome.