Many things play a role in your overall health. One of the most integral parts of ensuring you are healthy is eating a nutritious diet. By eating the appropriate foods, you can prevent potentially harmful diseases and conditions.
However, what you eat also has an impact on your eye health. Just like the rest of your body, your eyes require specific nutrients to ensure that they function well and to prevent the development of vision-threatening eye disease. Few people realize just how important a healthy diet is in improving and protecting your vision.
So, don’t take your eyes for granted! Taking care of them is necessary. If you neglect your eye health, then it will severely affect your quality of life too!
A good vision can help to perform any task, like reading, walking, working, etc. That’s why regular eye check-ups and consuming healthy food is the key factor for eye health.
Your eyes need various types of micronutrients daily, such as vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. These include –
- Vitamin A, B, C, and E
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Why is Nutrition Important for Good Eye Health?
According to some experts and ophthalmologists, there are certain food items that improve overall eye health while some foods help in reducing the risk some certain eye-related diseases. Consuming a daily diet of low fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains not only helps promote good eye health but also aids in keeping your heart healthy.
This is not highly surprising, as eyes rely on tiny arteries for nutrition, so does the heart which relies on larger arteries. Thus, keeping these arteries healthy, feeding them with nutrients from rich, fibrous foods promote good eye health.
A balanced diet includes a variety of proteins, dairy food, fruit, juices, vegetables, seafood, and poultry food. Ideally, you should eat rainbow food, incorporating various types of food with different colours like a rainbow.
Here, we have given some food options to maintain your eyes health –
Particularly Salmon and Tuna are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids that are great for eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that contribute to visual development and retinal health. A relevant study concluded that people who have enough fish in their diet had the lowest risk of age-related macular degeneration. The fish oil present in fish helps to prevent dry eyes. Experts recommend two-three servings per week can provide you with better results.
Oysters are the best source of natural minerals, especially zinc. Zinc is an essential element that helps in the production of melanin, a pigment required for eye protection. Zinc deficiency can cause night blindness and cataract. High doses of zinc can slow down the progression of the early stage of macular degeneration of the eye.
2: Poultry food and meat
Eggs are great food with numerous health benefits. They are an excellent source of lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Vitamin A is a safeguard of the cornea. Two antioxidants present in egg yolk – lutein and zeaxanthin lower the chance of getting eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.
Lean beef is rich in zinc which helps the body to absorb vitamin A easily. It is beneficial for eye health and also plays an essential role in minimizing the risk of advanced macular degeneration (an eye disease).
Turkey is known as an ”all-purpose protein” that can benefit your body in various ways. It is the best food to prevent cataracts due to the presence of zinc and vitamin B niacin.
- Green leafy vegetables
Leafy vegetables are known to be beneficial in every aspect. They are abundant in vitamins, minerals, iron, and antioxidants. Dark green vegetables like spinach, kale are rich in antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein. Lutein helps to protect the eyes by filtration of blue light (lights from mobile or computers). These antioxidants also play a role in maintaining a healthy blood flow to the eyes. You can toss these vegetables in oil or make a tasty soup to enjoy an evening.
Legume like kidney beans and peas offers ample amount of bioflavonoids and zinc, helps to protect the retina, and prevent cataract and macular degeneration.
- Bell peppers
Bright bell peppers are rich in vitamin A, and vitamin C is known to minimize the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Daily a cup of freshly diced bell peppers can provide you with abundant vitamins and minerals.
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene that are excellent for eye health. Vitamin A plays a vital role in the production of rod and cone cells, essential for low light vision and colour vision. Beta-carotene protects the eye surface and helps to prevent eye infections and eye diseases. Disease-causing free radicles are also minimized by beta-carotene and help to prevent cataracts and glaucoma.
Oranges are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that help counter the risk of age-related eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Oranges help to provide structure for the cornea. You can drink a glass of orange juice daily to receive its benefits.
These little magical berries are an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants that helps to improve vision. Blueberry contains anthocyanins – a potent antioxidant that provides extra protection to your eyes. They also help improve the eyesight of people suffering from normal-tension glaucoma, where the optic nerve is damaged.
5: Nuts and seeds
- AlmondsAlmonds are great for your eye health. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and fatty acids that help to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Almonds work as a safeguard for your eye health.
- Chia seedsChia seeds are called ‘super-food’ due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. They are great to maintain healthy eyes.
Dairy products such as milk and yogurt are beneficial for eye health as they are rich in vitamin A and zinc. They help to protect the cornea and retina from external infections. Dairy products prevent night blindness and cataracts.
Can We Get Eye-Healthy Nutrients from Vitamin Supplements?
In normal cases, doctors and experts always advise eating whole foods. Eating the right food and having a proper whole-food diet is the best way to get nutrients for the eyes. However, people who have macular degeneration, an old-age related disease that affects the retina, can be exceptions. According to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2, people with macular degeneration (AMD) are advised to take supplements as per the guidance of their ophthalmologists.
There are many patients who start focusing on a good, wholesome diet after they have been diagnosed with eye-related diseases. Eating a proper diet from the very beginning will not only benefit your vision but also your health for the rest of your life.
Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.