Protecting your eyes begins with what you eat.
Studies have shown that nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E protect the eyes and help to ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Health experts recommend you regularly consume these 10 foods to maintain good eye health:
- Cold water fatty fish like salmon, tuna and other oily fish - an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which make cell membranes in the eyes and brain more stable.
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens which are rich in carotenoids and especially lutein, a yellow pigment which protects the eye.
- Fruits and vegetables - contain the important vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene. Yellow colored vegetables are extremely important for daylight vision.
- Garlic and onion - rich sources of sulfur, necessary for glutathione production - an important antioxidant for the eye’s protection.
- Soy - contains essential fatty acids, vitamin E and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Eggs - rich in cysteine, sulfur, lecithin, amino acids and lutein. These components, plus vitamin B2, also found in eggs, help to prevent cataract formation.
- Bilberries and grapes - enhance night vision.
- Carrots, oranges and other citrus fruits and bell peppers - rich sources of vitamin C and vitamin A, two very powerful antioxidants which have been shown to specifically protect the eyes.
- Nuts and berries - high levels of omega-3s stabilize cellular membranes in the eyes. Berries also contain flavonoids, natural antioxidants which protect the eyes. Zinc, present in nuts, but also in eggs, sardines and shellfish, plays a key role in the release of vitamin A from the liver. Vitamin A is critical for eye health.
- Dairy products - also rich sources of vitamin A; vitamin A deficiency can cause blindness.
- Smoking and obesity/overweight are risk factors for poor eyesight and increase your chances of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
On the other hand, eating a well-balanced diet and regular exercise both help to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your risk for these unwelcome health conditions.
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