Eat Your Way to Better Vision: Top Superfoods for Eye Health
Poor eyesight is a common problem. As many as 23 million American adults have reported vision loss. Many individuals experience difficulty seeing objects close up (farsightedness or hyperopia) or at a distance (nearsightedness or myopia).
A significant part of eye health includes providing the nutrients they need to perform their best. The overall health of your eyes depends on certain nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, bioflavonoids, carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants.
Eating certain “superfoods” can keep your eyes functioning at their best for a longer period of time, as well as help prevent various eye problems. Add the following superfoods to your diet and you’ll be on your way to ensuring healthy eyes for a lifetime.
- Spinach – Guess what, Popeye? Spinach is good for more than just your muscles. But to improve your eyesight, you have to eat more than a few bites of this superfood. You must regularly eat spinach along with other green vegetables, such as kale, Swiss chard, turnips, mustard leaves and collard greens. Spinach is dense with nutrients including vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin that are good for the eyes. Vitamin A helps protect the cornea, lutein protects the eyes from ultraviolet light and zeaxanthin contributes to visual development.
- Salmon – Making salmon a regular part of your diet can help protect the retina from damage and may even prevent blindness. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent dry eyes and also help ward off age-related macular degeneration. Experts recommend having two servings of salmon per week.
- Carrots – Your mom was right. Eat your carrots. Carrots contain a lot of beta-carotene, which is a precursor for vitamin A. Vitamin A prevents night blindness, helps maintain a healthy and clear cornea, and protects the cells in your eyes and throughout your body. Carrots also contain lutein, which helps increase pigment density in the macula, the oval-shaped yellow spot near the center of the retina. This in turn protects the retina and lowers the risk of macular degeneration.
- Blueberries – Blueberries support healthy eye function through their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and collagen-stabilizing properties. Eating blueberries regularly can improve vision and strengthen blood vessels in the back of the eyes. Blueberries also contain anthocyanins, which help lower both high blood pressure and inflammation and also prevent blockages in the arteries that feed oxygen to the retina.
- Sweet Potato – They’re not just for Thanksgiving dinner. Sweet potatoes contain a decent amount of vitamin A, which we already know is an essential nutrient for the eyes. Vitamin A improves eyesight and also prevents cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Vitamin A is also required to solve the problem of dry eyes and protect the eyes from both bacterial and viral infections. Sweet potatoes come in about 400 different varieties throughout the year and can be cooked in wide variety of ways.
What Makes a Superfood Super?
Merriam-Webster defines a superfood as a food that is rich in compounds considered beneficial to a person’s health, increase energy and vitality, help regulate cholesterol and blood pressure and may help to prevent or fight cancer and other diseases.
So, eat up!