Did you know there is a direct connection between heart and eye health?
It is true! Just like your heart relies on large arteries for oxygen and nutrition, so do the tiny arteries in your eyes. That means eating a heart healthy low-fat diet with whole grains, fruits and veggies is just as beneficial for your eye health.
Antioxidants help slow down or prevent free radical damage caused by the sun’s UV rays, smoke and pollution. Of course there are several supplements available in pill form, but nothing replaces the importance of eating well. Several foods are important for healthy vision, but we will share with you some of our favorites that should be making an appearance on your plate each day. Eat your way to eye health with these 5 fab foods:
Orange vegetables and fruits
Certainly you have heard how important beta-carotene is for healthy sight. Having a Vitamin A deficiency can lead to poor night vision, so eat those carrots! Since Vitamin A is fat soluble, a fun benefit to increase it’s power is by dipping it in your favorite dressing! Other delicious options are sweet potatoes and cantaloupe. Although you cannot improve your vision with beta-carotene, it is a good prevention and you should be eating foods rich in it often.
There are some nutrients that play a key role in healthy eye-sight that are less known as beta-carotene, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These together act as a natural sunscreen for your eyes, and are known to lower your risk for AMD (age-related macular degeneration) that develops as you age. Like orange fruits and vegetables, eating foods that contain these nutrients consistently are important. Kale, spinach, collard greens, peas, broccoli and avocado are excellent sources. Whipping up a smoothie with apricots and some of these greens is a delicious way to get your daily dose in. Although not green, eggs are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin.
Not all fish are created equal. Some are much higher in Omega-3 oil than others. Living in the Pacific NW, we have access to salmon, trout and halibut, but tuna and sardines are also high in Omega 3s. Like leafy greens, these fish can also reduce your risk of AMD and Glaucoma. Omega-3 oils also improve function in the eye’s tear-production gland, which produce the oily part of tears. Improved function of those glands can ease dry eye symptoms.
Vitamin C is another extremely important antioxidant that keeps your eyes functioning properly. Citrus is beneficial for lowering your risk of cataracts. Fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and lemons are high in Vitamin C. If you want to pack an extra-punch, you can also find this antioxidant in strawberries, bell peppers and tomatoes.
Legumes are rich in bioflavonoid and zinc. Zinc is a trace mineral that is found in our eyes in high concentrations and helps prevent damage from light exposure. Together, these nutrients also help protect your retina and lowers your risk of AMD.
We welcome you to discuss the importance of eating for your eye health at your next appointment with one of our Doctors here at Oregon Eye Consultants. Click here to make your appointment!