Most people know the importance of regular eye exams and having a correct eyeglasses prescription. But it’s easy to forget how big of an impact our diets can have on our eye health. Green, leafy vegetables, carrots, eggs, and beans contain vitamins and minerals A, E, and D, and Zinc. All of these are great for different parts of the eye’s health.
There isn’t a magic bullet for certain foods that will prevent certain diseases. However, research shows that a healthy diet lowers the risk of many diseases and prolongs a person’s life.
In addition to exploring a few eye healthy foods, this article also touches on the importance of a healthy diet and some other considerations for your long-term eye health.
Eye Healthy Foods to Try
With each food (or food group), we’ve curated a tasty recipe for you to try sometime this week.
Comprehensive studies have been done on the effects of fish on eye health, or more specifically, the Omega-3 fatty acids they contain. The large amounts of these fatty acids found in fish, like salmon or tuna, reduced people’s chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by up to 40%.
Ingesting healthy amounts of Omega-3s can also help reduce the severity and frequency of dry eye disease symptoms.
Try this delicious Mediterranean Twist Salmon.
You’ve probably heard the old wives’ tale that you’ll have fantastic night vision if you eat lots of carrots. Unfortunately, this originated from a myth, but there is some truth to carrots benefiting our eyes.
Two specific things that carrots provide our bodies are the antioxidants beta carotene and lutein. Your body converts beta carotene into vitamin A, which helps with your eye health, especially your night vision. Additionally, yellow carrots are high in lutein, which helps prevent AMD.
Try these Roasted Maple Carrots with Bacon for a tasty side dish.
During a study with a 15-year follow-up, researchers discovered that eating eggs regularly significantly reduces a person’s risk of developing late-stage AMD.
Try this hearty Egg Casserole for next Sunday’s brunch.
Green, Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, collard greens, or kale may not be everyone’s favourite vegetables. But they are packed with nutrients for our eyes. They have vitamins C and E and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. As we saw in the above foods, these nutrients help prevent diseases like AMD or cataracts.
Give yourself a double dose of eye healthy ingredients with this Bean Soup with Kale.
There are almost endless ways that beans can be used, and many contain generous amounts of zinc.
Zinc is an essential mineral we need for good eye health. Our bodies need it for many things, but it does a couple of things in our eyes specifically. It works with vitamin A to create melanin, strengthening your eye’s retina.
It also contributes to better night vision. However, supplementing won’t make your night vision better. It prevents you from becoming deficient.
Don’t want a soup or burrito? Try this Three Bean Salad for a fresh dinner.
Does Diet Really Matter?
Wearing a helmet while riding a bike doesn’t guarantee we won’t be injured if we fall, but we wear one to prevent as much injury as possible. It’s the same idea as the relationship between our diet and eye health.
A good diet doesn’t guarantee that you will never have a problem with your eyes and that you’ll have perfect vision. But scientific research connects specific vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to improve eye health, function, and disease prevention.
Vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin are all vital nutrients that have shown success in lowering the risk of AMD, cataracts, and even dry eye.
Other Considerations for Good Eye Health
We know that a healthy diet is essential for eye health, and now we have five new recipes to try. But eating good food isn’t the only thing contributing to healthy eyes.
The CDC has a list of recommendations to prevent vision loss and eye problems:
- Get comprehensive eye examinations as recommended by your eye doctor.
- Maintain blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol to prevent diabetes.
- Eat a healthy diet full of vegetables and fish.
- Don’t start smoking (or quit, your body will thank you)
- Wear sunglasses to protect against UV radiation
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Discuss Your Eye Health With Your Optometrist
Your eye health and vision are our priority. And part of that is ensuring you have all the information you need to make healthy eating choices. If you still have questions about the foods you should eat after reading this, please contact us.
The team at York Mills Eye Care can work with you to ensure all your questions are answered. And if you need to see the eye doctor, we can book you an appointment.