Carrots aren’t the only food that affect your eyes. Like all other organs, your eyes rely on multiple nutrients to keep them in tip-top shape. A balanced diet rich in nutrients can help you keep your healthy eyes for years to come.
When it comes to the benefits of good nutrition, remember that prevention is always easier than cure. Even if your eyes are healthy and your vision is great, you should still take some steps to protect your eyes by maintaining a healthy diet.
Not too long ago, we did a piece on foods that harm your eye health, which you can read here. In this post, we’re going to be focusing more on the positives than the negatives. What foods should you be incorporating into your diet in order to boost or support your eyes?
Oxidation in our cells is constantly occurring. Just like metal rusts with exposure to air, our cells receive damage over years and years of oxygen exposure. In the free radical theory of aging, this damage is caused by free radicals, a popular buzzword that you’ve doubtless heard thrown around in health articles. Antioxidants are important in reducing the damage our eye cells take from aging.
Two important carotenoids that function as antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin, are also thought to absorb directly into your retinas, protecting against sun exposure, smoke, and air pollution.
Incorporating antioxidants into your diet may also contribute to overall lower rates of disease and may prevent the deterioration of the cells in your eyes. Foods that are high in antioxidants, like leafy greens and certain berries, are also very rich in other nutrients. So if you add blueberries or kale to your diet for the antioxidants, you’ll also be reaping the benefits of many other helpful vitamins.
Vitamin C and E
These two vitamins are a power team that works together to keep tissues strong, including those in the eyes. The Vitamin E half of this dynamic duo is frequently lacking in people’s diets. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix. Seeds, nuts and vegetable oils are all great sources of vitamin E.
You don’t want your diet to fall short on zinc. Zinc is vital for retinal health and is most easily found in seafood like crab and oysters. Other meat like turkey can also help you get some zinc into your system, as can whole grains and eggs.
Omega-3 fatty acids
The Omega-3 from fish like salmon and sardines is known for how it benefits your heart and your brain by preventing inflammation. These benefits may also apply to your eyes. The Omega-3 fatty acids you get from that tuna sandwich may be helping the cells in your eyes work more efficiently and safely.
The truth about beta-carotene
We can’t talk about food and eye health without mentioning carrots. Vegetables, in general, are very healthy for your eyes (and the rest of you, as well). But the vegetable you hear the most about is the carrot and its most well-known nutrient, beta-carotene.
Do carrots improve your vision?
Beta-carotene is an essential eye nutrient. Capable of transforming into Vitamin A once in the body, beta-carotene helps protect your cornea from damage. Beta-carotene is especially adept at preventing the onset of night blindness. This means that chomping on some carrots will help your eyes stay healthy and strong. Unfortunately, it’s not going to do away with your prescription glasses.
Beta-carotene does not improve vision. It can, however, help ensure that your eyes are operating at their best. A poor diet can lead to vision loss and other eye problems, so in its own way, beta-carotene is helping to safeguard your vision from unnecessary damage.
Supplements for your eyes
Unfortunately, an easy-to-use daily vitamin pill is not going to compensate for an unhealthy diet. Science just hasn’t gotten there yet. So while there is some merit in taking vitamin supplements (the AREDS formulation is known to help fight macular degeneration), you should always strive to get as many of your daily nutrients as possible from food. This is because the nutrients in food are much more bioavailable, meaning your body can actually use them.
See your eye doctor
If you have specific concerns or questions about how your diet may be affecting your eyes, don’t hesitate to bring it up with your eye doctor.
All adults should be getting annual eye exams whether they wear eyeglasses or not. A comprehensive eye exam will give you all the information you need to put together the perfect eye diet. And getting an updated prescription will also give you the freedom to shop around for better deals on prescription glasses at sites like 39DollarGlasses.com.