What Are 5 Great Foods for Eye Health?

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EyeQue Team

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March 27, 2019

Your mom may have told you to eat your carrots so that your eyes stay healthy. But does your diet really help you maintain healthy eyes? It turns out that what you eat really does affect your eyes. Researchers discovered that eating lots of sugary, starchy foods may make eyes more vulnerable to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a top cause of vision loss. The good news is that you can also eat foods that protect your eyes too. Research has shown nutrients found in certain foods including vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin, are helpful in stopping the advances of certain eye diseasesWe wrote about general foods for eye health, but here are five specific foods for eye health that you can add to your diet:

Kale

Kale is a great food to eat for your eyes.
Eating dark leafy greens like kale can help prevent macular degeneration.

 

Do you want to protect your eyes from sunlight damage? Make sure to add some kale to your diet. It contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are pigments that block blue light. These antioxidants help prevent degenerative eye diseases like macular degeneration. Just remember to add some healthy fats like avocado, nuts, or olive oil. Your body needs fat to absorb lutein and zeaxanthin.

Salmon

Salmon contains fatty acids known as omega-s that can help prevent dry eye.
Salmon contains fatty acids known as omega-3s that can help prevent dry eye.

 

Do you suffer from dry eye? Research has shown that eating foods rich in omega-3 fats can help. Not all omega-3 fats are the same. While nuts are rich in omega-3 fats, they are not as helpful as the omega-3 fats present in fatty fish like salmon. Omega-3 fats found in fish called DHA and EPA help with dry eye the most. Salmon also is a good source of vitamin D, which helps protect against macular degeneration.

Sweet Potatoes

 

Sweet potatoes on a wooden tabletop
Eating sweet potatoes are great for your eyes!

 

While carrots are typically what people think of when they want a good source of beta carotene, sweet potatoes are also a good source. Your body converts beta carotene into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps protect the surface of the eye known as the cornea, decreases the risk of vision loss from macular degeneration, and may prolong vision in people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa (RP). While you can get vitamin A from animal sources, it is can lead to a toxic build up in your body. It is not water-soluble like plant sources are. 

Green Tea

Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that are great for your eyes.
Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that are great for your eyes.

 

We all know that green tea is a powerhouse of antioxidants, but did you know that green tea is good for your eyes? It contains an antioxidant known as catechins. Catechins are thought to help protect the delicate tissues of the eye from glaucoma and other eye diseases. Researchers have found that a measure of antioxidant activity lasted for up to 20 hours after the drinking green tea extract. While more research needs to be done to confirm a protective effect on humans, it could be worth it to swap out your black tea or coffee!

Tomatoes

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This fruit is rich with a carotenoid known as lycopene. Lycopene protects your tissues from free radical damage because it can neutralize free radicals before they oxidize and harm your cells. A study published in 2011 found that people with higher lycopene levels faced a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration. Make sure you cook your tomatoes. Cooking them actually increases the lycopene content that can be absorbed by the body as well as the total antioxidant activity.

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