Optimal eye health can come from maintaining a good nutritional diet. To learn which foods are good for eye health, it is important to understand which nutrients best supplement a whole food diet. The following helps boost eye performance as well as enhance overall health.
Important Vitamins & Minerals for Eye Health
Improving your eye and overall health can be as easy as consuming vitamins, minerals, and other necessary nutrients. In order to develop a diet that fits well with your lifestyle, keep this information in mind:
Antioxidants help protect the eye against cataracts and macular degeneration. This nutrient can be found in oranges, lemons, bilberries, blueberries, cherries, legumes, red wine, many teas, soy, and vegetables.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids support the structure of cell membranes and can be found in the retina of the eye. While technically not a vitamin or mineral, omega-3 is necessary for guarding against macular damage, alleviating symptoms of dry eye syndrome, and boosting retinal health and performance.
Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A and then used by the body to reduce the progression of macular damage as well as boost eye performance. It should be taken with food containing zinc and vitamins C and E to process properly.
Selenium and Zinc are especially effective for improving eye health. We’ve already established that zinc is important in the process to convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, but these minerals also act as antioxidants to help protect the eye against overall ocular degeneration and blindness. This nutrient can be found in oysters, Brazil nuts, garlic, sesame seeds, and chickpeas.
Vitamins C, D, and E reduce the risk of macular degeneration. These nutrients can be found in a variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts, and vitamin D can be introduced through sun exposure.
Great Foods to Incorporate into Any Diet for Eye Health
While is it important to understand which nutrients benefit the different parts of the eye, using this information to build a practical diet begins with knowing which foods are rich in these nutrients.
Dark Leafy Greens, including vegetables like kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, are packed with vitamins and minerals that improve eye health and protect against macular degeneration. These foods are especially high in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in the macula of the eye and retina respectively.
Colorful Fruits and Vegetable contain tiny nutrients called carotenoids, flavonoids, and chlorophyll, which give the food their color and are essential in promoting optimal eye performance. Foods like carrots and sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, which is then converted into vitamin A and improves vision.
Cold-water Fish, including wild-caught salmon, mackerel, and herring, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are necessary components not naturally produced by the body and must be consumed through diet.
Nuts and Seeds, especially pistachios, walnuts, and almonds, have high concentrations of the essential fatty acids our eyes need to maintain optimal performance.
Whole Grains, which are foods usually low on the glycemic index (GI) and contribute to slower digestion, allow the body to maintain a sustainable blood sugar level that will not damage the eye over time. Foods like brown rice, quinoa, and sprouted wheat are excellent whole grain options that will help protect the eye against degeneration.
Learn more about maintaining good eye health by calling Alabama Vision Center and scheduling a consultation with one of our doctors. We’ll help you discover the best ways for keeping your eyes healthy.