When we talk about eye health and good vision, one thing that immediately pops up in our mind is a carrot. Carrots have become synonymous with the health of eyes and good vision. It contains beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A, which protects the vision and helps the different parts of the eyes including retina to function smoothly.
But, carrots are not the only food that can help you improve your eye health. Here are some foods that can protect your vision and boost the eye health with their rich vitamins and mineral content:
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Carotenoids, a type of vitamin A, form the foundation that can protect the eyes from most disorders and improve the vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the two carotenoids found primarily in the green leafy vegetables.
Zeaxanthin and lutein are found in high concentrations in the macula, a small part in the center of your retina responsible for a perfect central vision. Hence, an increased consumption of zeaxanthin and lutein-rich foods has been linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Lutein is also present in the macular pigment, which protects the vision and assists in the blue light absorption. Hence, it makes sense to eat the green leafy vegetables to improve the health of your eyes.
Some other healthy options to get your daily dose of carotenoids include collard greens, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
2. Alaskan Salmon
The wild-caught salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a form of healthy fats. The DHA in these fats is concentrated in the retina of the eye and provide structural stability to the cell membranes. This helps to boost the eye health and protects the retinal integrity.
Hence, eating wild-caught salmon is highly recommended to ensure better vision and slow down the age-related macular degeneration. It also provides protection against cataracts.
3. Egg Yolks
Egg yolk offers a rich source of zeaxanthin and lutein along with plenty of healthy fats and protein. Though the total amount of carotenoids in eggs is lower than that of many vegetables, those found in eggs are in an ideal form, which makes them highly absorbable.
Since there is a risk of lutein and zeaxanthin in the eggs getting damaged during heating, it’s advisable to cook them as less as possible, such as having them soft-boiled, or poached.
Just like carrots, tomatoes too are packed with carotenoids like lycopene. Lycopene present in the eye tissues can help prevent the damage to the retina induced by the exposure to light and thus, prevent vision loss.
Vitamin C, another nutrient found in abundance in tomatoes, is also a vision protector. Tomatoes are also rich in antioxidants, which protect the eyes from the free radical damage and enhance the eye health.
5. Orange Pepper
Orange pepper contains a very high amount of zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin, as discussed earlier, is an important carotenoid found in the retina. It helps to improve the eyesight by enhancing the functions of the retina.
Since our body does not have the ability to produce its own Zeaxanthin, eating orange pepper can be considered a good alternative to ensure good vision and improved eye health.
Orange pepper also helps to regulate the carbohydrate metabolism thus preventing fluctuation in the blood sugar levels in the patients with diabetes. This can help in preventing the complications affecting the eyes such as diabetic retinopathy.
6. Black Currants
Black currants provide a high level of anthocyanins besides being rich in the healthy fatty acids and lending additional support to the eyes with their anti-inflammatory properties.
Anthocyanins are flavonoids that can provide protection to the eyes from the damage caused to the DNA by the free radicals. They can also protect the eyes from the harmful effect of ultraviolet radiation in the sun rays.
These actions of black current help in preventing several eye disorders and slow down the age-related loss of vision.
Bilberry is another nutritional superfood for your eyes. It contains a high amount of anthocyanins, which produce a protective effect on the visual functions against retinal inflammation.
Regular intake of bilberry is a great way to reduce your risk of cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Patients with diabetes are particularly advised to consume this fruit on a regular basis to reduce their risk of diabetic retinopathy.
Pistachio is the only nut that contains significant amounts of zeaxanthin and lutein. Hence, it is considered the friendliest snack for the health of your eyes.
Pistachios also pack in a significant amount of vitamin E as well as mono and polyunsaturated fats, which help increase the absorption of carotenoids. Hence, snacking on pistachio can be considered a good way to enhance your eye health.
Corn is a great natural source of zeaxanthin and lutein, which protect the eye from several diseases including cataract, and enhance the vision. It is advisable to eat corn together with the foods containing healthy fats like olive oil, and salmon to boost the absorption of these nutrients.
Some more tips for healthy eyes
- Get a screening test for your eyes once every year especially after entering the 40s.
- Avoid eyestrain for extended hours. Our eyes are not designed to focus on one object for a long period. To avoid strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule, which involves taking a break of at least 20 seconds after a 20-minutes activity of focusing on a laptop screen, followed by focusing your eyes on something, which is at least 20 feet away before you resume your work.
- Get enough sleep. Just like the rest of our body, our eyes also rejuvenate when we are asleep. Getting sound sleep is necessary to ensure proper lubrication of the eyes. Sleeping with the eyes shut for long hours allows for the wiping out of the irritants like allergens, dust, or smoke from the eyes.
- Exercise your eyes. Just like our muscles, our eyes too need good oxygen supply and blood circulation. Regular exercise can reduce your risk of eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy and keep the eyes healthier.
So, if you do not like carrots, there are still plenty of options available for you to boost your eye health. Make sure you include these foods in your regular diet and follow the tips above to protect your eyes from the age-related vision loss, retinal damage due to ultraviolet radiation, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and other conditions.