Keeping our eyes healthy is one of the most important ways to prevent age-related eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), sight loss, dry eyes, cataracts, and problems with night vision. While an active lifestyle is key, adding specific foods to your diet will help keep your eyesight strong.
Eating beans and other legumes adds needed zinc to your diet. The mineral helps release vitamin A from the liver so that it can be used in eye tissues. A zinc deficiency, if severe, can potentially lead to deterioration of your eye’s macula.
This hearty cruciferous vegetable has long been said to have potential protective benefits against cancer and heart disease, but it also contributes to eye health too. In addition to containing lutein and zeaxanthin, broccoli is also a high source of vitamin C. This combination of nutrients has the potential to reduce the progress of age-related macular degeneration and vision loss.
To reduce the risk of certain eye diseases, like AMD, you should consider consuming dark green vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, and dark green lettuce on a regular basis. These veggies contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients with antioxidant qualities that help to prevent cell damage. Because part of the back of our eyes are made up of lutein and zeaxanthin pigment, keeping your body nourished with those minerals helps to maintain normal physiology. Essentially, lutein acts like a pair of sunglasses helping to protect the retina.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish offer up eye-healthy benefits. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids helped to protect adults from both age-related macular degeneration and dry-eye syndrome. Omega-3 helps modulate the inflammation that can lead to dry eyes. Mackerel, tuna, and salmon offer a high dose of omega 3s.
Orange coloured fruits and vegetables get their tint from beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, which helps promote healthy vision. In particular, eating a diet rich in beta carotene will help your eyes adjust to low levels of light at night. Other ways to boost this nutrient is by eating pumpkin, squash, apricots, and carrots.
Wheat germ is a source of vitamin E, another important antioxidant that protects our eyes from free-radical damage. Oxidation can cause your body to deteriorate and become prone to disease, but vitamin E protects cells in the body from this effect. It can also potentially decrease the progression of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Add wheat germ when baking or as a topping on salads, oatmeal, yogurt, soups, or smoothies. Other sources of vitamin E are almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds.
Want to incorporate these ingredients into your next meal? Discover more excellent foods for your eye health by trying out some of our favourite recipes.