Your grocery store, farmers’ market, and backyard garden provide a cornucopia of healthful foods to improve your vision and keep your eyes healthy. The following foods deliver excellent doses of nutrients that promote good vision and provide your eyes with what they need to serve you well, now and later in life. If you have children, be sure to pack these items in their school lunches and serve them during home meals to promote eye health. Let them see you consuming these healthful foods, and they, too, will pick up healthy eating habits for better vision and healthier eyes.
Colorful Vegetables Packed with Vitamins
The old adage that carrots are good for eyes is actually true. Anecdotes abound of pilots devouring carrots before an eye test in order to pass the exam, and also during flights to improve night vision. There is some merit to this tactic, since carrots are packed with beta-carotene, the substance that gives these vegetables their orange hue and plays an important role in eye health.
Beta-carotene is converted by your body into vitamin A, which offers numerous benefits to your eyes. Vitamin A promotes good night vision and keeps eyes well-lubricated for better overall vision and greater eye comfort. If you’re not a big fan of carrots, don’t worry — there are plenty of other options you and your kids can choose from. Foods rich in vitamin A-producing beta-carotene include sweet potato, winter squash, red bell peppers, and mangoes.
The good news is that eating a moderate amount of these fruits and vegetables is sufficient for health benefits; there’s no need to binge on carrots or other orange-colored vegetables, since an excess of vitamin A is actually not good for your body. Include these healthful foods in your diet, but don’t feel the need to overdo it.
A Variety of Nuts and Seeds
Sunflower and chia seeds are just two of many types of seeds that promote better vision, in large part because they deliver vitamin E. According to the American Optometric Association, vitamin E protects the cells of your eyes from damage that free radicals may cause. In particular, this vitamin can help prevent, or at least slow the progression of, macular degeneration and cataracts. Pumpkin seeds also deliver vitamin E. Nuts are another excellent choice for getting this vitamin, with almonds, hazelnuts (also called filberts), and brazil nuts serving as good sources.
Oranges, Grapefruits, and Other Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C also fights age-related eye damage that can lead to impaired vision, so add foods rich in this vitamin to protect your eyes. These foods include grapefruits, oranges, limes, and lemons, in both fruit and juice form. Other vitamin C-rich foods are bell peppers, pineapple, guavas, kiwis, broccoli, and papaya. The benefits of vitamin C to your eyes include a reduced risk of developing cataracts and improved health of the blood vessels in your eyes and throughout your body.
Leafy Green Vegetables
For those important antioxidants your eyes need to function properly and see well, eat a variety of leafy green vegetables. Kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, and romaine lettuce deliver healthy levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which can reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases by promoting the health of eye cells. Leafy greens offer health benefits whether you cook them or serve them raw.
Don’t Forget Whole Grains
Oatmeal, rice, barley, and quinoa are some of the healthful whole grains you can add to your diet for better vision. They provide essential micronutrients, including the mineral zinc and the B-3 vitamin niacin, that support eye health. There is a correlation between zinc deficiency and impaired eyesight. Eat healthful grains to keep your vision strong.
The Benefits of Eggs
To prevent dry eye syndrome, try consuming eggs. When your eyes lack an adequate amount of moisture to properly lubricate them, they feel itchy and sore. The omega-3 fatty acids in eggs helps protect cell membranes and guard against symptoms of dry eye.
Top Things off with Berries
Who doesn’t love delicious berries? If you enjoy strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and more, you’re in luck — they offer plenty of nutrients that protect your eyes, from vitamin C to antioxidants.
At Spectrum Eye Care, our eye doctors are committed to helping you improve your vision and maintain good eye health. Contact our vision center today to make your next eye care appointment! We are conveniently located in Colorado Springs, and our optometrist is available to see new patients.