Save Your Sight: 10 Foods to Eat for Healthy Eyes
Don't neglect your eyes when it comes to nutrition. There are things you can eat to help boost eye health and we have the scoop on the best ones to add to your diet. California Optometric Association doctor of optometry Cindy P. Wang, O.D., F.A.A.O., shares her insight into what to eat to keep your peepers healthy.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are important nutrients found in green leafy vegetables and they are very important for eye health. “Many studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts,” says Wang. In addition to kale, you can find lutein and zeaxanthin in collards and spinach.
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Grapefruit and grapefruit juice is a great source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), an important antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables. Wang explains that scientific evidence suggests vitamin C may lower the risk of developing cataracts. She adds that when taken in combination with other essential nutrients, vitamin C may slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and vision loss.
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Oranges are also packed with vitamin C, and like kale and eggs, they are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin.
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Red peppers are also a good source of vitamin C. They also contain vitamin A, which has been shown to support healthy vision, especially when it comes to night vision.
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High in vitamin E, Wang explains that nuts can help protect cells of the eyes from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals which break down healthy tissue.
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Add salmon to your weekly dinner rotation to boost eye health. Wang explains that salmon contains essential fatty acids, which fuel cells and boost the immune system. She says that omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be important for proper visual development and retinal function.
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“Oysters are high in zinc, which plays a vital role in bringing vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order to produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes,” says Wang. She also explains that zinc is highly concentrated in the eye, mostly in the retina and choroid (vascular tissue layer lying under the retina), making it a must for healthy eyes.
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Eggs contain zinc, which has also been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Like kale and other dark, leafy greens, eggs are also a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin.
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Seeds, especially sunflower seeds, are also high in Vitamin E, and they also contain zinc.
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Whole grains (grains with all three layers of the seed intact) are beneficial for eye health. They contain vitamin E, zinc and niacin, which have all been shown to promote healthy eyes.
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