A Guide to Foods for Eye Health
Category: Healthy Living
Posted on June 17, 2021
Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.
Did you know that 12 million people over the age of 40 years old in the United States have a vision impairment? That's one million people who are blind, three million people who have vision problems after an attempted correction, and eight million people with uncorrected refracted impairments.
Sounds scary, right?
Well, luckily, you've clicked on this article. And, in this article, we're going to talk about foods for eye health. This means that we're going to talk about some foods that researchers have found to promote healthy eyes.
To read more about how you can take care of your eye health, keep reading. Let's dig in.
Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This is especially true for oily fish that store more oil in their gut and body tissue. Thus, eating these oily fish offer more omega-3 fatty acids than eating other kinds of fish.
These are the fish that offer the most beneficial levels of omega-3 fatty acids:
The retina of your eye is composed of DHA, which is a type of omega-3. Those who don't have enough DHA may experience visual disturbances.
Thus, research shows that consuming more omega-3 fatty acids can improve eyesight. More specifically, it can reduce the risk of macular degeneration. These changes are notable because macular degeneration is a common cause of permanent eye damage and even blindness.
In addition, omega-3 fatty acids help with tear production. So, they can help prevent dry eye which can cause visual impairments and inflammation.
2. Nuts and Legumes
Just like fish, nuts also have notable levels of omega-3 fatty acids. So, they can help with macular degeneration and other vision issues.
Plus, they also contain Vitamin E, which research shows can protect our eyes from damage secondary to aging. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help protect your cells from damage. This includes protecting your eye cells from damage.
More specifically, Vitamin E protects your cells from damage from free radicals. These are harmful and unstable molecules within your body.
Because of this protection, Vitamin E can prevent age-related cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
Here are some kinds of nuts and legumes that are great for promoting eye health:
- Brazil nuts
Think about how beneficial these little things are next time you're getting a casual snack.
Seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E. Seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds can help reduce macular degeneration and prevent cataracts.
It's easy to add seeds to any snack or meal. You can sprinkle them over a salad or add them to a smoothie.
Most of the time, you won't even notice they're there. Meanwhile, they're helping to protect you against future visual impairments.
4. Citrus Fruits
Just like they help to boost the immune system, citrus fruits help with visual impairments. Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant.
You'll find a great amount of Vitamin C in fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits.
Vitamin C forms collagen in our bodies. Collagen is a protein that makes up part of the structure of our eyes and other areas of our bodies.
Vitamin C has the ability to protect the body from damage that comes from things that we eat and smoke. It can also protect us from the sun's rays, which can be too harsh for our bodies to handle. Specifically, Vitamin C helps repair damaged tissue and generate new tissue cells where dead ones once were.
Thus, Vitamin C can help protect against visual impairments such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Even consuming the juice of these fruits can be beneficial to our eye health. However, you should make sure that you're drinking juice straight from the fruit. Drinking processed juice isn't as beneficial.
5. Leafy Green Vegetables
It always comes back to those vegetables that most people push away. They are unbelievably good for you. And, they promote healthy eyes.
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin.
Lutein is one of two major carotenoids. We find it as a color pigment in the human eye. Mainly, we find it in the macula and retina.
Scientists believe that it works as a light filter. This means that it can protect our eyes from sunlight damage.
However, lutein is also an antioxidant. It can reduce inflammation in the eyes, fight free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and improve your vision.
Zeaxanthin is an eye vitamin as well. Your body draws it directly to the eyes when it enters. It travels into the lens, macula, and fovea.
Because of its placement, zeaxanthin can help protect your eyes from high-energy light waves. Usually, humans experience these kinds of waves from the sunlight. So, having more zeaxanthin in your diet can help protect your eyes.
Both lutein and zeaxanthin help to protect the macula. This is the area of the eye that gives us our central and most detailed vision. Thus, lutein and zeaxanthin can help clarify and sharpen vision.
Carrots have both Vitamin A and beta carotene.
Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins when it comes to eye health. It composes rhodopsin, which helps the retina absorb light from our surroundings.
And, Vitamin A can help our conjunctival membranes and cornea function better. It helps our bodies turn rays of light into images that we're able to see and process in our brains.
Vitamin A also helps keep your eyes hydrated. With water, Vitamin A ensures that your eyes stay lubricated. Without enough of it, you may develop dry eye and vision impairments secondary to it.
Beta carotene is what gives carrots their color. It helps reduce oxidative stress. Plus, beta carotene helps our bodies convert beta carotene into Vitamin A.
Overall, both Vitamin A and beta carotene promote eye health by sharpening our vision and making it easier to absorb light.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have beta carotene and Vitamin E, too. So, they have a few benefits for your eyes:
- Increase in Vitamin A
- Reduction in oxidative stress
- Sharpened vision
- Lessened light sensitivity
- Slowing age-related macular degeneration
- Preventing age-related cataracts
Replacing white potatoes for sweet potatoes can do a lot for promoting eye health. This simple replacement can help you promote a better diet and nutrition targeted for your eyes.
Beef has zinc, which promotes better long-term eye health. Zinc also helps slow age-related sight-loss and macular degeneration.
Zinc itself composes a great portion of the eye and helps to compose melanin in the eye. You can find zinc in the retina and the vascular tissue around the retina. Because of this, zinc helps protect the eye from environmental stimuli that may damage eyesight.
Zinc helps to maintain the health of our retinas. This means that it may protect the eyes from light that can be damaging to our eyes.
You can also find zinc in chicken and pork, but beef contains zinc in higher levels.
While zinc is important to your eye health, you should be careful not to ingest too much of it. Zinc can lower the amount of copper that you have in your blood. Because copper helps your body make red blood cells, you may become anemia due to taking too much zinc.
If you would like to take zinc for your eye health, you should talk to your doctor about a healthy amount of zinc for you. At the same time, you should be sure to limit the amount of beef that you're taking in. Ingesting too much beef isn't good for you, both because of the zinc and because of the cholesterol.
Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin. As we discussed earlier, these are both beneficial to your eye health:
- Lutein reduces inflammation
- Lutein fights free radicals
- Lutein reduced oxidative stress
- Lutein improves your vision
- Zeaxanthin protects your eyes from harmful light
Overall, ingesting more of both lutein and zeaxanthin can promote eye health.
It may not surprise you, but water is also great for your eye health. Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration. In turn, dehydration can lead to dry eyes since your eyes require enough water to function properly.
Dry eyes can lead to inflammation in the eyes, especially if you're itching or rubbing them because of the dryness.
By drinking more water, you can help to lubricate your eyes. This means that you'll be preventing dry eye and eye inflammation by drinking more water. Plus, you'll find that you can see more clearly with well-lubricated eyes.
Promoting Eye Health With Vitamins and Supplements
The AAO, or American Academy of Opthalmology, provides recommendations for the amounts of these vitamins and supplements that you should be taking:
- 500 milligrams of Vitamin C
- 400 international units of Vitamin E
- 10 milligrams Lutein
- 2 milligrams Zeaxanthin
- 80 milligrams Zinc Oxide
- 2 milligrams Copper Oxide
By ingesting these levels of vitamins and supplements daily, you can help slow the progression of eye diseases. All of these are healthy eye nutrients that you should be accounting for in your day-to-day life.
All in all, the best way to ingest these vitamins and supplements is through healthy eating and proper diet and nutrition. However, some individuals still have trouble taking in these amounts. So, you should talk to your doctor about the best option for you and your eye health.
Benefits of Eye Health
Your eyes truly are the window into your soul. Well, more accurately, they're the window into the rest of your body.
When someone has their regular eye exam, the ophthalmologist is looking at more than their vision. They're evaluating whether or not you're showing signs of common health conditions, including the following:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Brain tumors
- Macular degeneration
- Liver disease
Your eye doctor can see your veins via your eyes. This is the only place in your body where we can get a good look at the veins without having to perform a surgical procedure.
By inspecting your blood supply, ophthalmologists can look for all of these diseases and more.
It's also important to note that brain health depends on eye health. The optic nerve connects the eyes and the brain, so the two must depend on one another to receive and process outside information.
Keeping your eyes healthy helps keep your brain healthy. And, it gives you a better quality of life.
Other Tips for Promoting Eye Health
The AAO also offers other tips for promoting eye health. Here are some strategies that you should consider using:
- Wear sunglasses outside to prevent cataracts from excessive sun exposure
- Stop smoking to prevent the creation of free radicals that can hurt and kill cells
- Get regular eye exams and let your eye doctor know of any changes
- Wear eye protection while you're working with eye irritants and/or dangerous chemicals
- Wash your hands before you apply contacts
- Wear contacts for the period of time indicated by your eye doctor
- Protect your eyes from computer-related strain by taking a break every 20 minutes
The AAO also suggests that you keep an eye on your blood sugar level. If you have high blood sugar, you could have diabetes. This is the leading cause of blindness.
So, those with diabetes should monitor their levels carefully and take their medications as their physicians direct them.
Combining Foods for Eye Health With Medication
Even if you're ingesting all of the right foods for eye health and taking all of the right supplements for eye health, you may still find yourself struggling with eye health. Because of this, your medical physician or ophthalmologist may prescribe a medication to help with your eyesight.
Of course, they may also recommend glasses, contacts, or a similar solution.
However, if you find yourself with a prescription, you should come to PricePro Pharmacy online. We can help you order your prescription drugs online from Canada.
You'll have the prescription you need in no time. And, you'll have your eye health back.