Romantics tell us eyes are the windows to our souls, and while that might be true, it also contributes to their mysterious nature. In health industry circles, eyes receive less focus than other organs like the heart and lungs, but they are no less important. The same foods you eat to have a healthy body can contribute to the wellness of your eyes. Here are 7 foods to eat to preserve and improve your eye health.
1. Orange Fruits and Veggies
Bugs Bunny and our teachers taught us carrots are good for our vision, but the same is true for most other orange fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, peppers, squashes, mangos, and apricots because they are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts to Vitamin A. Beta-carotene helps improve our night and color vision and promotes a strong immune system and healthy skin. These fruits and vegetables are so versatile that you can add them to every meal.
2. Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and brussels sprouts all contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants the eye stores in the macula, which help prevent light damage, especially from blue light, the type electronic screens emit. They are also a good source of Vitamin C. Broccoli and brussels sprouts also contain Vitamin E. In this digital age of ever-present screens, eating your greens is more important than ever.
3. Egg yolks
Egg yolks are another good source of eye-protecting antioxidants. Like green leafy vegetables, they provide us with lutein and zeaxanthin. Since those antioxidants are fat-soluble, the delicious fat in the yolks helps us absorb them. Egg yolks are also a rich source of Vitamin D, which some studies show helps prevent macular degeneration.
4. Seeds, nuts, and legumes
Seeds, nuts, and legumes all promote eye health, too. Most of them contain Vitamin E, which helps prevent age-related macular degeneration. Adding them to salads or eating a handful as a snack is an easy and delicious way to protect your eyes. Chia seeds, natural addition to smoothies, oatmeal, and desserts, contain higher quantities of antioxidants than many berries and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which, among other benefits, help prevent dry eyes.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate not only tastes delicious, but it provides health benefits as well. A 2018 study showed that people who consumed dark chocolate showed improved visual clarity and contrast sensitivity, and the flavonoids in dark chocolate can help prevent macular degeneration.
6. Citrus Fruits and Tomatoes
Citrus fruits and Tomatoes contain plenty of Vitamin C. We all know the antioxidant helps our immune systems, but it also helps our bodies build collagen that provides the structure for the cornea of our eyes. Tomatoes also contain lycopene and the antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, making them superheroes in the quest for eye health.
Berries, especially Aronia berries, are powerhouse foods when it comes to protecting our eyes. They are rich in antioxidants and many vitamins and minerals. Eating berries helps stabilize collagen, improve vision, and strengthen the blood vessels in the backs of the eyes. They also contain anthocyanins that reduce blood pressure and inflammation and promote blood flow to the eyes. Because they are so delicious, healthy and, readily available fresh or frozen year-round, aim to include berries in at least one meal a day.
Eating to protect your eyes does not require extraordinary effort. The whole foods you eat every day probably contain many of the nutrients important for eye health. If not, making just a few adjustments can yield great results. In addition to eating well, make sure to drink plenty of water and wear sunglasses with complete UV protection or hats to shield your eyes.