When referring to aging, it was Plato who said, “The spiritual eyesight improves as the physical eyesight declines.” While this certainly may be true, there are changes you can make in your diet today to improve your eye health and reduce your chances of developing degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Below are dietary changes that your eyes will thank you for.
1. The Power of Green!
Dark, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard and collard greens contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that can help protect your eyes. Keep in mind that these superfoods also contain a good amount of vitamin C and carotenoids which you will read is also protective to your eyes.
2. Mom was right “Carrots are good for your eyes.”
And more than carrots…sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, spinach, Chinese cabbage and kale are all great for your eyes. These foods contain beta-carotene which is a form of carotenoids and are essential for eye health. Beta carotene serves a precursor to vitamin A, a nutrient necessary for normal vision and retinal health. Vitamin A also helps reduce dry eye and maintains night vision. Wow your guests with entrees such as carrot soufflé or roasted butternut squash soup.
Eggs provide another source of lutein and zeaxanthin which can reduce your chances of cataract formation. Keep the yolk as it is there you find zeaxanthin and vitamin D. Choose omega-3 fortified eggs if possible for a richer source DHA which is also beneficial for your eyes. Eggs are also an excellent source of vitamin A. How about an egg omelet with peppers and kale and a side of bok choy?
4. Vitamin C, E and Zinc Rich Foods.
Fill your cart with vitamin C, E and zinc rich foods. Research has suggested that antioxidants found in vitamin C, E and zinc rich foods help lower your risk of developing cataracts. When combined with other nutrients, vitamin C intake can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Load up on vitamin C rich foods such as strawberries, kiwi, citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli and cantaloupe. Vitamin E rich foods include sunflower seeds, walnuts, wheat germ, almonds and spinach. In beans, lean meats, dairy, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and oysters you will find good sources of zinc. Chili prepared with beans, bell peppers and spinach will combine all of these groups.
5. Got Dry Eyes!
Omega-3 fats such as salmon, herring, tuna, sardines, ground flaxseed, flax oil, walnuts, canola oil and soybeans are not only good for your heart, they can nourish eyes as well. Include sources of omega-3 fatty acids every day. Drinking enough water also reduces dry eyes.
Including these foods into your daily repertoire is beneficial on many levels as it provides your eyes the protective nutrients for lasting, optimum eye health and also helps you to maintain a healthier weight.Being overweight can lead to type II diabetes, heart disease and high-blood pressure all of which put the health of your eyes at greater risk as these conditions can damage the delicate blood vessel in your eyes.
Look into your future and “see” the wisdom to bringing forth a healthier you.Things are looking brighter from the inside out!