Your eyes guide you through the world, but a number of conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts are a threat to healthy vision – and in many cases, it's preventable. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to boost your eye health and lower your risk for vision complications – starting with what you put on your plate. Here are 5 foods for eye health that’ll have you seeing clear.
Sustaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to keep your whole body healthy – including your eyes. Our eyes rely on a number of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to function properly and reduce the risk for a number of diseases:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Dry eyes
- Night blindness
Let’s take a look at some of the foods rich in nutrients to protect your eyes.
Eggs are known for their impressive nutrient content – from healthy fats to vitamins and minerals, it’s worth adding an egg to your brekkie. It’s actually the yolk that is responsible for the bulk of the nutrients, with a generous dose of 20% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin E in just 2 eggs. This vitamin has important antioxidants for protecting our whole body, including our eyes – in fact, researchers have linked vitamin E consumption to a lower risk for age-related eye disorders like macular degeneration. Eggs also pack a good amount of vitamin A and zinc, more eye health essentials. Vitamin A protects the cornea and prevents them drying, along with preventing deficiency-related blindness, while zinc improves our night vision and protects the retina – this is the back part of the eye which enables us to see. Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are known to reduce the risks of macular degeneration and cataracts in older adults.
The humble almond is an unexpected hero in the fight to protect our vision – and it’s all down to the vitamin E content. As we mentioned above, vitamin E plays a massive role in eye health, and it’s proven to prevent age-related macular degeneration when consumed regularly and adequately. This is where almonds come in – they pack a whopping 48% of the RDI in just one serve. The best part? The serve is a mere 2 tablespoons! So, skip out on the potato chips and get snacking on a handful of almonds instead! But you can’t go wrong with other nuts like peanuts, hazelnuts and brazil nuts either, while they don’t pack quite as big a vitamin E punch as almonds, they’ll still give you a boost.
Leafy greens are good for pretty much all of our body! From our brain function to our liver, gut and even blood – the vitamins and minerals in these nutritional powerhouses are integral to our health, and that includes our eyes. That’s because they’re loaded with antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which as we mentioned above, are known for protecting our eye health and preventing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Kale, for instance, is loaded with these eye-healthy vitamins and minerals. Just 100 grams of this veggie packs a whopping 11.4 milligrams of lutein – and keep in mind, we only need to reach the target of 10 milligrams per day for healthy eyes. So, for your next salad, why not swap your lettuce out for kale? It’s denser in nutrition, more satiating and keeps your eyes in good form.
It’s true what they say about carrots – they’re an exceptionally beneficial veggie for eye health. This is because of their vitamin A and beta carotene content – in fact, it’s the beta carotene that gives carrots their trademark orange colour. Vitamin A in carrots is a component of what’s known as rhodopsin – this is a protein known to help the retina take in light, meaning it allows us to see better. But that’s not all vitamin A does, we need this stuff to prevent blindness, sharpen night-time vision and combat dry eyes. The beta carotene is used by the body to produce vitamin A, making it another eye health booster.
Citrus fruits are known for their antioxidant content, including vitamin C, which we know is a must-have for healthy eyes. This is because it strengthens the blood vessels in the eyes, thereby reducing the risk for a number of eye diseases, from age-related macular degeneration to cataracts. Hesperidin is another antioxidant found in citrus fruits like oranges, and it’s known to reduce inflammation and fight free radicals which can lead to disease – as an added benefit, it may even lower high blood pressure. You’ll find impressive amounts of vitamin C and other antioxidants in the following citrus fruits:
- Blood oranges
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