Foods to Support Eye Health and Boost Your Vision
by Vickie Chin on Jul 13, 2023
As we age, our eyesight can become a more pertinent health issue to pay attention to.
Maintaining optimal eyesight is crucial for keeping your eyes healthy and your vision as unimpaired as possible. While factors like light exposure and adequate rest can affect your eyesight, one factor that many people overlook is the significant impact of dietary habits on your vision.
In this article, we explore how your diet impacts your eye health, including foods good for your eyes, the key nutrients that help to promote better eye health and vision. Plus, we discuss a wide variety of superfoods you can add to your diet to help maintain your eyesight long-term.
Keep reading to discover the power of superfoods for supporting your eyesight!
How Your Diet Impacts Eye Health
An unhealthy diet can affect more than just your weight and energy levels.
When you regularly eat a diet of highly processed food lacking nutritional value, that diet is likely not providing you with enough nutrients to support optimal eye and vision health.
The American Optometric Association reports that researchers have linked certain nutrients with a reduced risk of certain eye diseases, such as cataracts and age-related macular generation. According to the AOA, foods for eye health with these nutrients include lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc.
Let’s take a closer look at how each of these nutrients impacts eye health:
- Lutein & Zeaxanthin: Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidant carotenoids that are naturally found within the eye’s retina. Studies show that these compounds are essential for eye health and impart the yellow pigments in the retina that help to protect against blue light damage. Additionally, a lack of lutein and zeaxanthin have been linked as potential dietary causes in the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) blindness.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C can help to reduce and prevent the oxidative stress that contributes to the formation of cataracts. One study states that vitamin C plays a “critical role” in consuming oxygen and maintaining lower levels of oxygen within a person’s eyes.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is considered a potent antioxidant that can help to protect eye cells against damage from free radicals. According to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin E may also play a role in reducing the impact of oxidative stress on the eyes.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for several chronic ocular conditions, according to a 2020 study. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids are thought to help reduce the symptoms of dry eye disease (DED).
- Zinc: Zinc is another nutrient that is believed to help reduce the risk of AMD and AMD-related blindness and vision problems. The National Eye Institute states that people with a high risk of developing advanced AMD can lower their risk by up to 25% when treated with a “high-dose combination” of zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.
Superfoods for Healthy Eyes
Eating a healthy and nutrient-rich diet is a crucial step towards maintaining your eye health — but which foods are the best for getting your daily dose of eyesight-related nutrients?
Good nutrition is often the crux of long-term physical health, including eye health.
As such, working to improve your healthy diet for your eyes and adding in more whole foods packed with nutrients can be the key to not only maintaining your eyesight long-term but to boosting your overall health and wellness.
To help you get started, here is a list of 7 excellent superfoods for eyes to add to a balanced diet:
1. Spinach and Leafy Greens
Spinach and leafy greens are excellent sources of nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which play key roles in reducing the risk of AMD, AMD-related blindness, and cataracts. Tasty examples of leafy greens include kale and Swiss chard.
When eaten as part of a regular, balanced diet, spinach, and leafy greens are thought to help protect the eyes against damage caused by blue light and oxidative stress. This superfoods good for eyes can be especially beneficial for anyone working on a computer who experiences regular exposure to blue light.
2. Carrots and Sweet Potatoes
Carrots have a well-known reputation as a vision-supporting food. This is thanks to the high beta-carotene content found in carrots which converts into vitamin A. Although vitamins C and E are closely related to promoting eye health, vitamin A can also be highly beneficial for maintaining good vision.
Additionally, a deficiency in vitamin A can lead to reduced night vision. As a result, eating carrots and other beta-carotene-rich foods is vital for supporting your overall eye health and vision.
Sweet potatoes are good food for eyesight improvement and one great example of a beta-carotene-rich food that can also supply the body with a good source of vitamin A. In addition to preventing night blindness, vitamin A may also offer the benefit of preventing and reducing the occurrence of dry eyes. There are many tasty ways to add potato to your diet and one of the healthiest ways you are going to enjoy is a salad with sweet potato and veggies.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and organic seeds are often highly rich in several nutrients that are crucial for eye health, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and a variety of antioxidants. Along with helping to reduce the risk of AMD and dry eyes, nuts and seeds can also help protect your eyes from oxidative stress that can impair your eye health and eyesight if left unaddressed.
Consuming berries as part of a balanced diet can contribute greatly to your overall eye health and offer vital protection against age-related eye conditions.
Both fresh and dried berries — such as blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries (berry powders are also effective and can be used in drinks and other recipes) — are rich in antioxidants that are associated with a reduced risk of AMD and cataracts. One such antioxidant is anthocyanins, a group of flavonoid compounds that can offer many health benefits including anti-inflammatory effects, blood vessel support, retinal protection, and collagen support.
5. Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids around and considered to be one of the best foods for better eyesight.
As we have covered, omega-3 fatty acids can be effective in reducing your risk of developing certain chronic eye conditions, such as dry eyes. These fatty acids may also be crucial in maintaining the health of the retina and supporting your overall eye function.
6. Citrus Fruits
When it comes to getting your daily dose of vitamin C, citrus fruits are the way to go.
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are foods to support your eye health, as they contain high levels of vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient for lowering your risk of cataracts and slowing the progression of AMD. Additionally, vitamin C is thought to help promote healthy blood vessels in the eyes.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate crafted from a high concentration of cocoa is a great source of flavonoids — naturally-occurring compounds that help to improve blood flow to the retina and protect your eyes against oxidative stress. Flavonoids are also thought to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, making dark chocolate a delicious food option for supporting eyesight.
While dark chocolate can certainly be beneficial within a balanced diet, it is important to remember that this food is higher in calories and fat than other less-processed foods, like fruits and vegetables.
Other Lifestyle Factors for Eye Health
While a balanced diet for healthy eyesight, rich in vision-supporting nutrients can be excellent for promoting your eye health, other lifestyle factors can also significantly influence your eye health.
Here is an overview of the best practices for maintaining your eye health long-term:
- Regular Eye Exams: Regular eye exams are an important part of staying ahead of your eye health and identifying any problems or concerns early on. Additionally, working with a professional optometrist can help you better assess your vision and identify the root cause of any vision problems or eye conditions you may be experiencing.
- UV Protection: UV rays can be harmful to the eyes, especially when effective measures are not taken to protect your eyes from UV exposure. When outside, it is important to shield your eyes from UV exposure with UV-protective sunglasses. Wide-brimmed hats can also help to reduce your exposure, as well as UV-protective contact lenses.
- Eye Exercises: Practicing eye exercises and relaxation techniques can be immensely helpful in alleviating unnecessary stress and strain on your eyes, ultimately promoting better eye health. Along with giving your eyes regular breaks from screens and blue light, good eye exercises to practice include blinking exercises, gentle eye massages to help improve blood circulation, and placing your palms over your closed eyes to alleviate strain.
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No matter what types of superfoods you are looking for, Organic Traditions has the products you need to enhance your diet with new flavors and exceptional nutrients.
Visit the Organic Traditions online shop today to find your ideal superfood.