Most people have a basic knowledge of what foods promote a strong heart or muscles. But how many people know what foods are best (and worst) for eye health?
Although many common eye diseases are age-related, that’s not to say vision loss is inevitable as you age. One way to protect your vision is by visiting an eye clinic near you regularly for an eye exam. However, there’s more you can do to safeguard your sight. Research has discovered that foods rich in vitamins E and C, omega-3s, beta-carotene, lutein, zinc, and zeaxanthin can help decrease the risk of particular eye diseases as you get older. In case you’re not fully familiar with how to include these vitamins and minerals in your daily diet, our eye care specialists have prepared the following list.
Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Fort Myers eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.
What to eat for healthy eyes?
- Carrots and Sweet PotatoesJust like your mother told you when you were a kid, carrots are good for your eyes. They contain beta-carotene, vitamin A, and rhodopsin. Rhodopsin, a purple pigment, helps you to see at night and dim lighting. Altogether, the nutrients in carrots may help prevent the development of ocular conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Our eye care staff snacks regularly on carrot sticks!
- Dark green leafy produceDark leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and beet greens, are a fabulous source of lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin. Your retina contains lutein, making it an essential component of healthy vision. Blend beet greens in a smoothie, roast kale into crispy chips, and add fresh spinach into your sandwich.
- FishFish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which keep your digestive system and body tissues running smoothly. Scientific studies have also shown that fish oil can decrease the discomfort of dry eye symptoms, a common problem that we diagnose during eye exams.
- Citrus Fruits & VeggiesThe Age-Related Eye Diseases Study (ARED) found that vitamin C has potent antioxidants that can slow the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. This valuable vitamin is plentiful in oranges, kiwis, strawberries, peppers, and broccoli.
- Nuts & Dried FruitGranola made from nuts and dried fruit is a popular midday snack at our eye clinic. Enjoy almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds to infuse your diet with vitamin E, an important antioxidant.
- Cooked CornCorn can be a flavorful and nutritious side dish – it’s a perfect nutritious alternative to white potatoes! Research published in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry uncovered that cooking corn for extended periods actually increases the amount of lutein in each serving.
- EggsNo matter how you cook them, hard boiled or scrambled, eggs offer a ton of protein and nutrients, including lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E.
- BeefAre you a meat lover? Next time you slice into your juicy steak, delight in the fact that beef contains a large amount of zinc – which has been linked to long-lasting eye health.
What are the worst foods for eye health?
Chances are, the foods on this list won’t surprise you! Foods that are bad for your body are also bad for your eyes.
- Fried, greasy foodsFor the sake of your body and eye health, limit your deep-fried favorites. Onion rings, wings, and fries are dripping with saturated fats that can damage your vision over time. Choose healthy fats instead, such as the type in avocados, walnuts, and salmon.
- Sugary drinksDrinks high in both artificial sweeteners and natural sugar are bad for your vision. Reach for pure water instead, it’s the best way to keep your body hydrated.
- Candy, sweet sauces and dressingsIn general, foods with a high glycemic index can make your blood sugar level spike, which is harmful to your eye health. Over the long-term, exposure to high quantities of sugar can lead to macular degeneration.
While there’s no magic bullet to guarantee healthy eyes forever, eating the right foods for vision and going for a regular eye exam both offer a powerful defense against vision loss caused by many common age-related eye diseases. Do you have a favorite dish that uses any of the ingredients listed above? Next time you visit our eye clinic for expert eye care, please share your recipes!
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