"Eyes are the windows to this world." And the only way to keep these windows up and running is to ensure that you are getting the right type and amount of nutrition that cater to the specific needs of the eyes. It is unfortunate to know that about 50% of the American population who are over the age of 80 suffer from cataracts, and over 13 million people in the country have the eye disease known as macular degeneration. Foods that we include in our diet can do their bit in preventing all such eye diseases, or might even contribute in their development. For instance, if we consider a diet that is rich in vegetables, herbs, spices and fish thus, antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fats, then it is known to be the ideal diet to keep your eyes in a mint condition. On the other hand, if your diet is loaded with food rich in saturated fats and sugar, then it may be doing nothing but contributing to the build up of free radicals in the body, which in one way or the other may put your eyes at risk, and in some cases, to a point of blindness.
List of Foods for Healthy Eyesight
"What's up doc?" I am sure you must be familiar with this popular phrase of the animated cartoon character 'Bugs Bunny'. He could be seen munching on this favorite snack of his every now and then. Guess, he knew the benefits of these bright orange wonders. Carrots are a powerhouse of the antioxidant beta-carotene. And this is the very substance that gets converted by the body into vitamin A, a potent nutrient for maintaining good eyesight, and for preventing diseases such as night blindness, macular degeneration and cataracts.
This tropical fruit is loaded with an antioxidant called lutein (more than any other fruit), which is believed to protect eye health. Also, the fruit's richness in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E, makes it all the more a potent weapon to keep various eye conditions at bay.
Whenever I speak of this vegetable, I see faces of little children getting twisted, and nauseous. I know, these vegetables are not a favorite among kids. But I always stick to a believe that most stuffs that are not pleasant to the taste buds, turn out to be the healthiest. And the same goes with broccoli. This vegetable is loaded with antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, and to make these more potent, vitamin C is also present. Although not much, the vegetable has a satisfactory amount of beta-carotene in it, as well.
Popeye's eyes were small but he sure had a good eyesight. And all thanks to spinach! This green vegetable is also a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, and a fair source of beta-carotene. Lutein and zeaxanthin, in case, you were not aware are naturally present in the retina and the macula of the eyes. They serve as sunscreen for the eyes. So everyday intake of spinach increases the levels of these antioxidants in the eye, and help in preventing eye problems, including age-related macular degeneration. Also, spinach is a rich source of vitamin C.
Here comes my favorite food, especially for early morning breakfast - eggs! Chicken eggs are rich in the antioxidant lutein. And according to a study conducted on some people age 60 or older, consuming one egg a day adds to the blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in the body, and that too without raising cholesterol levels.
Not only they look beautiful when added to green salads, they also help in keeping the vision sharp, and eyes lovely. These fruits provide great benefits for the eyes due to their richness in vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene, in particular, is a carotenoid that is believed to protect the eyes against oxidative damage thus, is a crucial nutrient for proper eye function.
Kale is a hardy cabbage that provides you with vitamins, minerals and more importantly with antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxathin per calorie, that is more than any other food. The antioxidants, in particular, keep the retina from suffering free radical damage thus, keeping diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts at bay.
Not to forget about my favorite fruit - oranges. These 'pulpicious' fruits do more than just protecting the eyes. They are loaded with vitamin C, potassium, folate, calcium and fiber. And a cumulative effect of all these nutrients can be seen in a person's overall health.
How I loved to enjoy smoked salmons when I used to go fishing! As I had mentioned earlier omega-3 fatty acids are also one of the most important nutrients required for healthy eye function. And these are contained in large amounts in salmons more than other type of fish or seafood. Consuming salmons as a regular part of the diet helps in protecting the tiny blood vessels in the eyes. Also, people with higher intake of these fatty fish are found to be less vulnerable to develop dry eyes.
Here comes oysters in the list of foods for better eyesight. The major advantage of eating these mollusks is their richness in the mineral zinc. Zinc not only improves vision, but also boosts the immune system. Although zinc can also be found in pork or beef, oysters are known to contain more of it than any other food source.
Different Healthy Foods for Eyes
- Sweet Potatoes
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Sunflower Seeds
- Swiss chard
- Kidney beans
The foods cited above not only do good for your eyes, but benefit other organs in the body as well. So if your diet contains all these foods, then you need not worry about your eyes. And if it is otherwise, then before you start looking for glasses, better start looking for all these foods in the grocery. Take care!