Remember being told as a kid that if you ate carrots, you’d be able to see in the dark? Well, while that’s not QUITE true, there is an element of fact in it. There are a range of foods that contain vitamins and minerals which promote eye health and carrots (a very rich source of Vitamin A) are just one of them. Vitamins A, E, C, B6, B9 and B12 as well as omega-3 fatty acids are the main heroes to look out for, if you want to maintain clear, bright, healthy eyes.
Green leafy vegetables
Spinach and kale are packed with Vitamin C, which not only protects us from diseases like scurvy but also helps collagen production. A decrease in collagen has been linked to the development of cataracts, as it’s the stuff that basically holds the layers of your eyes together. Leafy greens are also full of minerals called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are both vital in preventing aged-related macular degeneration and light damage to the eyes.
Fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel and sardines have oil in their body tissue and this oil is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids. When we eat these fish, this extremely nutritious oil helps to restore the moist film that covers your eyes, thereby reversing the effects of dry eyes.
As well as boosting collagen, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to contribute to healthy blood vessels in our eyes. Lemons, oranges and grapefruits are loaded with enough moisture to keep the eyes hydrated and mangoes are also a great source of Vitamin A. Top your breakfast with a handful of blueberries for a healthy dose of anthocyanins, which protect against retina artery blockages. Citrus fruits are definitely eye champions!
Eggs are a fantastic source of Vitamin E, which is believed to be important in maintaining healthy eye tissue. Egg yolks are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, much like leafy greens, and are essential for protection against light damage and aged-related macular degeneration. Eggs also contain zinc, which your eyes need in order to produce melanin, a protective shield from sunlight.
Nuts and seeds
Walnuts, peanuts, cashews, brazil nuts and lentils are all full of Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds are also excellent sources of them. As we know, packing your diet with these vitamins is wise if you want to avoid age-related eye and vision problems. They’re all very versatile too -nuts can be enjoyed with dried fruit, lentils can be put in a curry or stew and you can throw some seeds over porridge or granola. No need to eat them as they come!
Beef and pork
Meats such as beef and pork contain high levels of zinc, which is an essential ingredient in melanin. Produced in the retina, melanin is the eye’s protection against direct bright light. As mentioned previously, eggs also have a lot of zinc as do whole grains, so there are many ways to get your required zinc levels.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. Just like the rest of your body, your eyes will thank you for a well-balanced, healthy diet. Try to get as many of these foods into your weekly meals as you can and see if you can notice the difference in your peepers.