Foods to Boost Your Eye Health

by | Oct 20, 2017

Proper nutrition—along with regular exercise and getting plenty of sleep—is an essential component of physical health and wellbeing. Eating a healthy diet can make positive impacts in the entire body, including your eyes.

When you think about healthy eating, it’s probably easy to think about benefits like lower cholesterol levels, weight management, and reducing your risk for illness and medical complications. Those are all great benefits from making sure you eat the right foods, but did you realize how you eat can affect the health of your eyes?

If you weren’t already aware of this, you’re probably not alone. The fact of the matter is, your dietary choices play a role in making sure you are able to see (to the best of your ability). Keeping that in mind, here are some foods you should incorporate into your regular diet to boost your eye health:

  • Fish – Coldwater fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This means they can play a role in protecting against dry eyes, macular degeneration, and even cataracts. Not a fan of seafood? Taking fish oil supplements—or vegan options featuring flaxseed or black currant seed oil—can provide those invaluable omega-3’s.
  • Leafy greens – There are so many reasons to include kale, spinach, and other leafy greens to your diet, including eye health. The key nutrients they contain for reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration are lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are plant pigments. You can also get this antioxidant duo in avocados, broccoli, and peas.
  • Eggs – In addition to being an exceptional source of protein, eggs contain lutein and vitamin A. These particular nutrients help protect against dry eyes and night blindness, along with contributing to general eye health and function.
  • Citrus fruits and berries – Vitamin C can reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, so incorporate grapefruits, berries, lemons, and, of course, oranges into your daily diet.
  • Nuts – Much like with fish, nuts—including almonds, walnuts, and pistachios—are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain eye health-boosting vitamin E. Be careful with nuts, however, since they are typically high in calories.
  • Legumes – Kidney beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas contain zinc and bioflavonoids, both of which protect the retina and lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Sunflower seeds – Need more zinc and vitamin E in your diet to keep your eyes healthy and disease-free? Try snacking on sunflower seeds!
  • Lean beef – The caveat with including lean beef in this list is that it should be consumed in moderation. When you do, you give your body more zinc – which is used to help absorb vitamin A and lower the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration.
  • Colorful fruits and veggies – To get more vitamins A and C into your diet, eat plenty of carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, cantaloupe, strawberries, and pumpkin (good thing Thanksgiving is coming up soon!). The yellow, orange, and red pigments for these foods come from compounds known as “carotenoids,” which are believed to lower the risk of many eye diseases.
  • Whole grains – Diets rich in foods that are low in the glycemic index help to reduce your risk for age-related issues like macular degeneration. To take advantage of this—and all the other tremendous benefits of whole grains—sub out refined carbohydrates for brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat breads and pastas, and whole oats (oatmeal). The zinc, niacin, and vitamin E contained in these foods also serve to promote general eye health.

Incorporating these various foods into your normal diet is great for promoting eye health. Even better, using these foods as the basis for your daily meals will contribute to better overall health and wellbeing!

Hopefully a proper diet will help you avoid eye problems. When issues do arise, though, come see our team at Sight Eye Clinic for expert diagnosis and effective treatment. Contact us today by calling (616) 772-2020!

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