Ever wondered what foods keep your eyes in great shape? Although many of us are taught that carrots are the key to perfect vision, they actually are not the most healthy vegetables for your eyes, believe it or not! Let’s look at what foods are best (and those that are not) for your health that will help you see a clear future.
Our Top 5 Picks
1. Green leafy vegetables. Spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens are a great source of vitamin C. Most importantly, they are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin - these are the most important nutrients for the retina and are found in high concentrations at the macula (the part of the eye that allows you to see detail). These antioxidants work to protect the eye from harmful free radicals and blue light; they also lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
2. Fish. Tuna, salmon, sardines, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids that are key to a healthy gut and body. Fish oil reduces dry eye symptoms and reduces inflammation, which is good news to those that spend time staring at their phones without blinking.
3. Nuts and Legumes. These too are high in omega-3 and vitamin E. Vitamin E can protect your eyes from age-related damage. Examples are walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and lentils.
4. Citrus fruits. When we eat an orange, or drink lemon, we know we are getting our intake of vitamin C. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, a fantastic antioxidant that aids in preventing age-related eye damage such as macular degeneration and cataract.
5. Carrots and sweet potatoes. Carrots are widely believed to give us hawk-eye vision, and though that is not true, they do provide other benefits for our eyes. Carrots and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A and gives them their orange color. Vitamin A is crucial as it stimulates a key protein called rhodopsin that helps the retina absorb light so that it can signal information to the brain; it also preserves the cornea and allows us to see in low light conditions.
1. Sugar. It’s not surprising that sauces, salad dressings, sweetened drinks and sweets contain a lot of, well, sugar! These foods can trigger a spike in blood sugar levels that can be damaging to your health. In diabetes especially, the blood vessels in the eye can get leaky, leading to potential vision loss.
2. Fried food. We are all tempted by cravings of fried chicken and fries. Unfortunately, this type of eating in the long run is detrimental to your overall health as they are high in saturated fats and cholesterol. This can clog your arteries, increasing your risk for stroke, heart attack, and vision loss.
It’s important to realize that absolutely everything we eat or do has an effect on our overall health, whether good or bad. Enjoy and indulge here and there, but be considerate of what you are consuming so that you can see better and be healthier.
Written by: Sandy Aziz & Dr. Natalia Fong
Image Credit: Becca Tapert