Every aspects of the human body require nutrients to function properly, and the eyes are no exception. Your overall eye health depends on several nutrients like vitamins A, C & E, omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, and zinc.
Getting enough of these nutrients will not only improve your eyesight but also your overall health. Below are some foods that contain key nutrients for eye health.
Carrots are very high in vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for eye health. Carrots also contain beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.
Vitamin A helps prevent a number of eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. It also appears that a combination of vitamin A and lutein may prolong vision in people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an eye disease that can cause a slow drop in vision until blindness.
A clinical study published in 2010 found that individuals with retinitis pigmentosa who took daily supplements of vitamin A (15,000 IU) and lutein (12 mg) experienced a slower decline in vison than those who did not take the combined supplements .
Because vitamin A is also important for protecting the surface of the eye (cornea), vitamin A deficiency can cause damage to the retina, which contributes to blindness.
2. Leafy greens
Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments that can lower the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Research has shown that consuming foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can slow the progression of AMD and prevent the onset of the condition .
Like most other leafy greens, broccoli is packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Broccoli also contains beta-carotene, another carotenoid that is beneficial for maintaining healthy eyes.
4. Whole grains
Whole grains are a low glycemic index (GI) food and studies have shown that foods with low GI contribute to a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration . In addition, whole grains contain vitamin E, zinc, and niacin, all of which support better eyesight.
Eggs are great sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which help reduce your macular degeneration risk. Apart from that, it also rich in vitamin A and protein. The protein and vitamin A in egg yolk help strengthen the muscles around your eyes, preventing eye strain and even blindness.
6. Fatty fish
Fatty fishes, like tuna, salmon, and mackerel, are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and protect the eyes from dry eye syndrome.
If you don’t eat fish, you can get omega-3s from other sources, such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, or omega-3 supplements.
7. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, are powerhouses of vitamin C, an important antioxidant that has been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
According to a 2016 study published in the journal of Ophthalmology, women who reported consuming more vitamin C-rich foods had a 33 percent risk reduction of cataract progression over a 10-year period .
Berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries, contain several nutrients that help promote good eye health. They contain vitamin C, which is required to maintain healthy eyes and reduce inflammation.
Berries also contain various antioxidants that help prevent eye problems such as dryness, vision problems and AMD.
Almonds are excellent sources of vitamin E that help keep your eyes healthy. Studies suggest that foods rich in vitamin E, like almonds, can significantly decrease the risk of developing age-related cataracts .
Almonds also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for optimum eye health. Daily consumption of these fatty acids may improve eyesight and prevent glaucoma, which can cause vision loss.
All legumes contain zinc, a trace mineral that plays a vital role in bringing vitamin A from the liver to the retina to produce melanin, which protects the eye.
You can enjoy them in salads and stews, or simply steam them for a snack. Some of the best legumes include kidney beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, and lentils.