We all know that eating healthily will benefit more than just our waistlines – it’s also great for our eyes! By making small changes to our diets, we can make a long lasting positive impact on our vision. What many of us don’t realise is that there’s more to eye nutrition than just munching on carrots, we’ve taken a look at the best super foods to keep eyes bright and healthy.
The Best Foods for Healthy Eyes
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two of the key nutrients that scientists recommend for boosting the health of our eyes. A diet rich in both can help prevent cell damage at the back of the eye that accelerates macular degeneration. Choose leafy green veg with a darker colour like kale, spinach and Romaine lettuce as they are excellent sources of both lutein and zeaxanthin and easy to integrate in to your diet. Mix spinach with broccoli, peas and avocados for a super-green salad, or try kale as an alternative to cabbage with your Sunday roast.
Fish & Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Studies have shown that eating as little as two 4-ounce portions of fish twice each week can help your eyes as you age. Cold water fish like tuna, salmon, trout and sardines contain a wealth of Omega-3 fatty acids which can help in the battle against dry eyes, macular degeneration and cataracts. If fish isn’t to your taste, nuts are also a brilliant source of Omega-3. Try snacking on pistachios and almonds or even try a sprinkle of walnuts on top of a blue cheese salad.
Eggs are packed full of vitamins and eye friendly antioxidants! The yolk is high in lutein and vitamins A and B, which can help protect your eyes against night blindness as well as promoting good eye health and function. Eggs are also rich in zeaxanthin which nutritionists believe protects your eyes from ultraviolet radiation. For a power breakfast, team your eggs (cooked the way you like) with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice – oranges are also a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin!
Ostrich & Turkey
Lean and packed with iron, zinc and protein - use ostrich or turkey as a substitute for high-fat meats like beef. Adding zinc to your diet is a great way for suffers of macular degeneration to help slow development of the condition. Turkey is also full of vitamin B niacin that helps prevent eyes from becoming dry.
Colourful Fruit and Veg
The brighter the better! High in vitamin C, brightly coloured fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruit and blueberries can help reduce the risk of cataracts whilst carrots, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and sweetcorn are rich in carotenoids – giving them their orange pigments but also making them vital sources of vitamin A. Carotenoids absorbed from vegetables have been proven to protect against macular degeneration. Whilst carrots won’t help you see in the dark, carotenoids found in carrots can help your eyes to adjust to low levels of light at night, and they taste great dipped in humus!
Eat for Good Vision
Eating a balanced diet will help maintain a healthy weight - lowering the risk of eye conditions that can be caused by obesity. Up until 2014, diabetic eye disease brought on by type 2 diabetes was the leading cause of adult blindness in the UK. With increased numbers of diabetic retinopathy screenings and more of us choosing to be more selective in our diets, there has been a reduction in the number of cases of this preventable condition but there is still more that can be done. So, next time you visit the supermarket, load up your trolley with our top eye health boosting foods!