How to Improve Your Eye Health with 6 Eye-Friendly Foods
Eyesight is one of the most important senses for human beings, and yet it is also one of the most fragile. According to statistics, around 75% of people in the United States require corrective lenses, and 22 million Americans are affected by cataracts. These high numbers are a testament to the fragility of our eyesight, which can be easily compromised by external factors and degenerative conditions. Although aging is often considered a natural side-effect of the condition, protecting the eyes against lifestyle factors can help maintain good eye health. One way to achieve this is to incorporate specific nutrients in your diet, which are essential for optimal eye health. Here are 6 eye-friendly foods that can help improve your eyesight and prevent eye diseases:
1. Egg yolks
Egg yolks are a source of lutein, a yellow-pigmented antioxidant that acts as a blue-light filter and combats free radicals in tandem with zeaxanthin. Combined with zinc, these two compounds can help slow down age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss for people above 65. Eating raw egg yolks are one of the most effective ways to obtain lutein. However, our bodies can also absorb the nutrient from other sources, such as leafy greens. Combining these lutein-rich ingredients with olive or coconut oil can improve absorption.
2. Spinach and other leafy greens
Dark, leafy greens such as cooked spinach, kale, collards, and turnip greens all contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants play a significant role in reducing the risk of chronic eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Cooking greens in high-quality olive or coconut oil can maximize the benefits of these compounds.
3. Salmon and other fatty fish
Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and anchovies are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is found in our retinas and instrumental in preventing dry eye syndrome and age-related macular degeneration. Consuming two to four servings of these fatty fish can help maintain optimal eye health. Vegetarian sources of DHA include supplements of flaxseed oil or blackcurrant seed oil.
4. Berries and citrus fruits
Berries, especially blueberries, are high in vitamins A, C, and E, and zinc, all of which play an essential role in maintaining eye health. Vitamin A prevents inflammation and combats free radicals, while vitamin C regulates intraocular pressure, preventing glaucoma, and vitamin E helps prevent the formation of cataracts. Zinc is a vital mineral that protects against night blindness and macular degeneration. Citrus fruits also contain high concentrations of vitamin C, making them an ally in the fight against eye disease.
5. Carrots and other orange-hued produce
Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, and mango contain lutein, the nutritional powerhouse contained in egg yolks and leafy greens, and beta-carotene, a substance that is converted into vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A offers significant benefits to eye health when combined with lutein. Consuming various sources of this vitamin can help maintain optimal eye health.
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which slows down macular degeneration and protects against the formation of cataracts. A handful of almonds a day can provide roughly half of your daily recommended dose of vitamin E, so supplementing them with berries and other vitamin E-rich foods can further improve your eye health.
In conclusion, by incorporating these 6 eye-friendly foods into your diet, you can take a step towards optimal eye health and prevent various eye diseases. Consuming these foods regularly, along with other healthy lifestyle habits, such as quitting smoking, can help protect your eyes and maintain your vision as you age. Your eyes are precious, and it’s never too early or too late to start taking care of them.