A major chunk of population suffers from some or the other type of eye-related disorder or disease. The good news is that some simple changes in your lifestyle and diet can help improve your eye health and maintain it for years to come.
Some nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and C etc., are all essential to keep your eyes healthy. They can be easily obtained from some superfoods which are commonly available.
Listed below are 7 must-eat superfoods for eye health, which you should include in your diet.
The most popular superfood when it comes to eye health is no doubt – carrots. For those who are still searching for an answer to the question – ‘are carrots good for your eyes?’ the answer is a firm yes. Carrots are good for eyes because they are rich in beta-carotene and lutein.
Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A by our body. Vitamin A is important for a healthy vision as it helps maintain a healthy and clear cornea, prevents night blindness and protects the cells in your eyes as well as provides a host of other benefits to your body. Lutein helps boost pigment density in the macula – an oval yellow spot near the center of retina. This protects the retina and reduces the risk of macular degeneration.
You can either consume them raw or cooked, but your body can digest them easily if they are lightly steamed. You can aim to include one carrot a day in any of your meals.
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach are your next best bet when it comes to superfoods for eye health. They are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are essential for maintaining the health of your eyes. Both these nutrients help slow down age-related macular degeneration and also protect against the risk of cataracts.
You can include around a 100 gm serving of spinach every alternate day in the form of salads, soups or vegetables. Kale, broccoli, collard greens, mustard leaves and Swiss chard are also some of the greens which must be consumed regularly to maintain healthy eyesight.
Here’s one more reason to love almonds. These are rich sources of vitamin E. The benefits of vitamin E lie in its antioxidant properties. Such antioxidants fight the free radicals which damage the cell structure. Also, vitamin E is known to protect your eyes by reducing the risks of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Just a handful of this superfood will provide you with your daily dose of vitamin E. You can use them to add a crunch to your salad or have them raw. However, it’s best to consume them after soaking overnight as this will ensure maximum nutritious benefits to the eyes.
Oranges and other citrus fruits such as lemons, tangerines and grapefruits which are packed with vitamin C also work wonders for your eye health. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It also helps your body form and maintain connective tissue including collagen which is found in the cornea of eyes. Besides, vitamin C is also known to lower the risk of developing cataracts.
Eat one orange a day if your diet has plenty of other vitamin C rich fruits and veggies such as tomatoes and red peppers.
Salmons are chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can help protect the minute blood vessels within the eyes, keep the retina healthy, prevent the occurrence of dry-eye syndrome and help keep age-related macular degeneration at bay. 30% of the fatty acids which make up the retina come from DHA which is a very common omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fishes such as salmon.
Two servings of salmon per week are recommended. Grill them with your favourite seasonings or use steamed fish in your salads and soups. Other such fishes which can help you maintain your eye health are sardines, tuna and mackerel.
Blueberries are loaded with multiple benefits such as vasoprotective, collagen-stabilizing, rhodopsin-regenerating, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. All of them together are necessary for healthy functioning of your eyes. Eating them regularly strengthens the blood vessels in the back of your eyes and improves your vision. They also contain anthocyanins which help lower inflammation and high blood pressure apart from preventing blockages in the blood vessels which provide oxygen to the retina.
A handful of these daily will suffice. You can add them to your cereal or smoothie or yogurt. The possibilities are endless and fun.
Egg yolks are also a great source of zinc, zeaxanthin and lutein. These nutrients help lower the risk of macular degeneration. Also, cysteine and sulphur found in eggs are compounds of glutathione which is a vital antioxidant and protein for the eye lens.
Adding only one egg a day can increase the lutein and zeaxanthin levels considerably. Prefer organic and free range eggs. You can either eat poached or boiled for maximum benefits.
Regular consumption of these superfoods will ensure that your eyes function optimally for a long period of time and also lower the risk of eye-related diseases. So revamp your menu to include these superfoods so as to keep vision problems at bay. Apart from a well-balanced diet it is also important that you go for regular eye checkups. Your ophthalmologist can not only detect common vision issues but also spot early signs of serious eye diseases such as glaucoma. So make sure that you never miss your annual eye checkup.
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs with a mission of informing readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care especially LASIK. He loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.