Dry Eyes? 5 Vision-Improving Foods to Add to Your Diet
The incidence of vision problems such as dry eyes, worsening night vision, and other issues worsens as we age. That doesn’t mean, however, that these problems aren’t treatable. In fact, eating the right nutrients can help preserve sight and keep eyes healthy. Here are five foods to incorporate in your diet.
Leafy green vegetables are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants called carotenoids found in large quantities in your healthy eye. Clinical trials have shown that ingesting these nutrients in foods like kale, spinach, collards, and turnip greens can lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. The secret? Carotenoids filter light wavelengths that can harm the eye, protecting healthy cells from damage.
Another antioxidant, vitamin C protects the eyes from irritants such as cigarette smoke and works with vitamin E to keep healthy tissues strong, including the specialized cells of the eye. Grapefruit is one of the best sources of vitamin C, which can also be found in strawberries and Brussels sprouts. Orange juice and grapefruit juice are also good choices.
Not only do whole grain foods like quinoa, brown rice, and oats contain the vitamin E that works with vitamin C to keep eyes healthy, they also contain vision-protecting zinc and niacin. This combination protects against free radicals that could damage the cells of the eye.
These veggies have more zeaxanthin than any other type of produce. Because our bodies don’t make zeaxanthin naturally, we rely on the foods we eat to provide this antioxidant. It’s found in high concentrations in the macula, the part of the eye responsible for detailed central vision, and helps keep this area of the retina healthy.
Though experts aren’t sure exactly how the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other fish work to protect the eye, a 2010 study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that people whose diet includes plenty of omega-3s are at lower risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss for seniors. If you’re not a fish fan, supplements from a company like the Cambridge Institute for Better Vision can help ensure you get enough of this essential nutrient.
Even if you’re not yet concerned about age-related vision loss, getting the benefits of these healthy nutrients will put you on the path to good eye health and overall wellness as you age.