Healthy Foods That Support Strong Vision
By eating healthy foods, we can build great vision and make it easier for our eyes to perform at a high level. Our eyes need important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to carry out their important work and prevent long-term damage.
Just like the big arteries that bring nutrients to our hearts, eating healthy foods helps support the tiny arteries that carry nutrients to our eyes. These nutrients can help protect our eyes from free radical damage and prevent eye problems like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
So what are some foods that can boost our eyesight and keep our vision functioning smoothly? We wanted to share some essential nutrients the eye needs along with foods that can provide them. Keep reading to learn more!
What Nutrients Help Eyes Stay Healthy?
There are a number of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to help our eyes and even prevent the progression of macular degeneration. These include vitamins E, A, and C which can be found in many different foods.
Zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin are also important nutrients that can help fight free radicals, prevent damage to the retina, and improve our eyes’ ability to absorb excess blue and UV light. Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in cold-water fish have also been shown to reduce inflammation that can occur in cases of AMD.
Fish Consumption & Eye Health
Eating fish regularly is a great way to get important nutrients needed for eye health. Cold-water fish in particular, like salmon and tuna, may be helpful in preventing eye disease. They provide our retinas with two essential omega-3 fatty acids that we need to function: DHA and EPA. These fatty acids help protect our eyes from AMD, glaucoma, and dry eyes.
Beans & Zinc
Beans are a great source of bioflavonoids and the mineral zinc. Both of these nutrients help shield the retina from damage and reduce the likelihood of developing cataracts or AMD. Zinc is essential for building strong retinas and protecting our eyes from light damage. In addition to beans and legumes, zinc can also be found in poultry, lean red meat, oysters, and pork chops.
Vitamin A & Vision
Vitamin A is one of the most important nutrients for eye health. It plays a big role in maintaining a clear cornea (the outside covering of the eye). Vitamin A is also helpful in letting us see at night or in low light conditions. In fact, night blindness is one of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A helps our retinas convert light into the objects that we see. It also keeps our eyes moist, helping prevent dry eyes. You can find vitamin A in many orange-colored fruits and vegetables, such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Two other compounds that help protect the macula are known as lutein and zeaxanthin. The macula controls our central vision and is important to shield from damage. Lutein, in particular, is known to improve or even prevent age-related macular disease (AMD), which is the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment.
Zeaxanthin helps protect eyes from harmful high-energy light waves like UV rays. Research has shown that a high level of zeaxanthin and lutein in eye tissue is linked with better vision, especially in dim light or where glare is an issue. Some foods that contain lutein & zeaxanthin include:
- Collard greens
Vitamin c is a powerful antioxidant and can be found in many different fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that vitamin C could lower the risk of developing cataracts. When part of a healthy diet, vitamin C can slow AMD progression, visual acuity loss, and free radical damage. It does this by repairing free radical damage and helping the body make new tissue cells. You can find vitamin C in lots of healthy foods, such as:
- Sweet potatoes
Eating a healthy diet filled with eye-supporting nutrients is a great way to support your vision. By knowing which vitamins and minerals to consume, you can start incorporating certain foods like dark, leafy greens and strawberries into your diet. In addition to supporting retinal health, these foods also keep the tiny arteries in our eyes functioning smoothly.
There are a lot of things that can damage our eyes such as free radicals, smoking, excess light, and pollution. Thankfully, an antioxidant-rich diet can help our bodies and eyes fight back and repair themselves as needed.