When we focus on staying healthy as our bodies age, our focus tends to go to our heart, brain and bones first. But just think for a moment about how much we use our eyesight every single day. We use our vision to read books, to admire nature, and to appreciate the happy faces of our loved ones.
But despite eyesight being one of our most important senses, we very often don’t take the proper eye care steps to maintain eye health, especially as we age.
Part of a great eye care regimen includes keeping a healthy food regimen. Everyone knows that keeping a healthy diet is part of keeping your heart healthy. The same thing goes for eye care. And chances are that if you are keeping a healthy food regimen for your heart, you are already eating the right foods for your eyes.
But how do you know that you are eating the right foods? Foods that complement your eye care go far beyond just eating carrots. Beyond simply eating carrots, studies have shown that there are other food options out there that are more effective for your eye care nutrition.
By regularly eating foods that are rich in protective nutrients and antioxidants, you can help maintain a good eye health to aid your overall eye care regimen. So here are 5 food tips to remember to help prevent some troubling eye conditions later on.
Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and dark green lettuce should be part of your diet. These green vegetables are high in lutein and zeaxanthin (two nutrients that are believed to lower your risk for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts).
The lutein and zeaxanthin that these vegetables have antioxidant functions in the body and also help prevent cell damage. Because the part of the eye naturally contains lutein zeaxanthin, it is important to keep that part well nourished to maintain a normal physiology at the back of the eye. Lutein essentially works much like sunglasses do—in helping protect the retina from damage.
Cold Water Fish
The omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish has all sorts of healthy benefits. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids help protect adults from age-related macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome.
Omega-3 fatty acids naturally help regulate the inflammation that can lead to dry eyes. However, be aware that some omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids actually enhance eye inflammation and can exacerbate dry eyes. So be mindful of the type of fatty acids that complement your eye care regimen.
Eggs are rich in vitamins and minerals, including lutein and vitamin A. The yolk specifically, is a prime source of lutein and zeaxanthin, also including zinc. All these nutrients help in promoting eye health and function, improving your overall eye care regimen.
Everybody knows that whole grains contain a low glycemic index (GI). A diet that includes a low GI can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Swapping out refined carbohydrates for whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, whole oats, and whole-wheat breads and pastas can help promote eye health.
Whole grains contain vitamin E, zinc, and niacin, nutrients that help promote overall eye health. Vitamin E, specifically, is an antioxidant that helps protect the eyes from free-radical damage that can lead to eye deterioration and disease.
Citrus Fruits & Berries
All citrus fruit, especially oranges, are high in vitamin C. This antioxidant is critical for eye health. According to studies, your eyes need a relatively high level of vitamin C to function properly. Including antioxidants into your diet can help prevent or at least delay cataracts and macular degeneration. Other foods included within this category include peaches, red peppers, tomatoes and strawberries.