Eating healthy foods is important for helping our bodies perform at high levels. This also applies to our eyes and vision. Certain foods could actually boost our eyesight by providing us with essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrients may help our bodies prevent eye problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Fortunately, healthy eye foods are also good for your heart and other body functions. Eating a plant-based diet keeps nutrient-delivering arteries in the eyes and heart functioning smoothly. Some foods that help in this regard include vegetables, legumes, fish, and fruits.
Eye Strengthening Nutrients
Research has shown that certain vitamins and minerals may help humans prevent the progression of macular degeneration. These include vitamins A, C, and E and the mineral zinc. Their antioxidant properties may be helpful in fighting free radicals that can damage the macula and retinal region.
The compounds lutein and zeaxanthin are available in food and may help improve pigment density in the macula. This is important as pigment absorbs excess blue and ultraviolet light, while also fighting free radical damage. The omega-3 fatty acid DHA has also been considered helpful due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Past studies have shown that it could reduce inflammation that occurs due to AMD.
Vitamin A Sources
Vitamin A helps our retina convert light rays into the things we see. It also allows our eyes to stay moist and prevent dry eyes. You can find this important vitamin in lots of orange-colored fruits and vegetables, such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
Vitamin C Sources
Vitamin C is a protective antioxidant that shields our bodies from lots of damaging things like unhealthy foods and environments. It does this by repairing free radical damage and helping the body make new tissue cells.
Thankfully, vitamin C can be found in many different foods, such as:
- Sweet potatoes
Legumes and Zinc
Legumes such as beans and lentils are great sources of the mineral zinc. Zinc is important for building retinal health and protecting our eyes from damaging light. Try incorporating some chickpeas into your meals to start getting more zinc into your body. You can also find zinc in poultry, red meat, oysters, and pork chops.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are so important for protecting the macula. The macula controls our central, focused vision and is critical for good eyesight. You can find these important nutrients in leafy green vegetables and brightly colored foods, such as:
- Collard greens
Fatty Fish & Omega-3s
Regularly consuming cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna may be beneficial in preventing eye disease. Our retinas need two types of omega-3 fatty acids to function properly: DHA and EPA. Fortunately, fatty fish has both of these fatty acids. Omega-3s also protect our eyes from AMD and glaucoma, while low levels of omega-3s have been connected to dry eyes.
As you can see, a diet rich in eye-supporting nutrients can help you protect your vision and keep your eyes strong. Start by incorporating more vegetables into your diets, especially dark, leafy ones like kale and spinach.
Our eyes need important vitamins and minerals to function properly. Like the heart, arteries deliver these essential nutrients to our eyes, so it’s important to keep our arterial health strong.
Free radical damage from unhealthy foods, smoking, and the environment at large can cause damage to our eyes and body. Thankfully, these antioxidant-rich foods can fight back against free radical damage and help repair our bodies.