Your eyes are the windows to your soul— and your windows to the world!
Most people know they need to exercise regularly and eat well to keep their body and mind healthy.
But did you know that your diet can affect your eyesight, too?
The National Eye Institute has reported on research showing that foods like carrots, fatty fish, and leafy greens have benefits for your eyes.
Keeping an eye on what you eat can help provide essential nutrients to the parts of your eyes that need it most, like your retina and macula, a central part of the retina that is critical to clear vision.
Protecting those parts of your eye can also help fend off eye problems down the road, like cataracts (which cloud your vision) or glaucoma (which creates problems with the optic nerves that help you see).
The best part about using a healthy diet for preventive eye care is that you get to eat fresh, delicious foods while simultaneously looking out for your vision.
Here are 5 foods that are great for your eye health and vision.
Not only are fish like salmon, trout, and tuna great for your overall health (especially your heart), but they’re all good for your eye health.
That’s because they’re a source of the acid DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid), which makes up part of your eyes’ retinas.
Those omega-3s may help with dry eye syndrome or even prevent glaucoma and the development of cataracts.
Carrots and sweet potatoes
Orange veggies are typically orange because they’re chock full of beta carotene, a pigment found naturally in a variety of plants. And beta carotene is a must-have for eye-health.
Beta carotene helps in the production of vitamin A, which is critical for your retinas’ ability to absorb incoming light. And luckily for you, orange veggies like carrots are also a good source of vitamin A.
Sweet potatoes, given their orange color, are also loaded with beta carotene. These wonder-veggies come with vitamins C & E as an extra bonus, which helps protect your cells and boost your immune system.
Orange you glad you know more about the health benefits of orange vegetables?
Dark, leafy greens like kale, collard greens, and spinach are all good sources of antioxidants that can keep your eyes healthy and prevent cataracts.
And it doesn’t hurt that they’ll also help you hit your vitamin C quota for the day, either.
Not a fan of those leafy greens? You can also get those powerful antioxidants from squash, broccoli, and avocados—the last fruit becoming increasingly popular with Americans.
There’s nothing like starting the day off right with a delicious serving of avocado toast! Your eyes will thank you.
Nuts, beans and seeds
Nuts like walnuts, cashews, peanuts and seeds (sunflower, chia, flax) are packed with omega-3s, plus vitamin E.
And beans like kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils are a great source of zinc.
Vitamin E and zinc have both been found to help with eye health and can fight off AMD (age-related macular degeneration).
AMD can happen when your retina is damaged and is the primary cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50.
Those same antioxidants found in leafy greens (lutein and zeaxanthin) are also present in the egg yolks.
That antioxidant power couple helps build up macula-protecting pigments and keeps retina-damaging blue light waves out of your eye.
Those tasty golden centers also are filled up with zinc and vitamins C & E, which are all good for your eye health and your overall health.
So it might not be a bad idea to add a fried or hard-boiled egg to that morning avocado toast we mentioned earlier.
Think of your diet as part of preventative care for your vision. Eating the right foods now can help you maintain better vision as you age.
And preventive care could save you money on expensive eye treatment down the line. For example, cataract surgery could run you nearly $3,500 per eye.
While treatment for cataract surgery and glaucoma may be covered by your health insurance, you could still be stuck with co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions. And these could cost up to $800 a year.
That’s where vision insurance comes in.
With vision insurance, you can afford to keep regular eye doctor appointments and get glasses or contacts when you need them.
Even if your vision is great today, it may not be tomorrow. The CDC reports that over 11 million adults in America need vision correction.
The eye doctor can also be important in your overall health, too. That’s because regular eye exams can help detect health issues such as diabetes, brain tumors, high cholesterol, liver problems and more.
Don’t be one of the 33% of Americans who don’t prioritize their vision care. By taking care of your eyes now, you’re taking care of your health for life.