Jeepers creepers. You need to protect those peepers—because you get only one set of eyes. When it comes to foods that are good for your eye health, many people automatically think of carrots. And they’re right. Carrots, as well as other orange-colored fruits and veggies, can help protect vision due to their beta-carotene content.† Beta-carotene, of course, is a type of vitamin A that gives these types of foods their distinctively orange hue. Beta-carotene is known to help support a healthy retina and to help other parts of the eye to function properly.†
But beta-carotene isn’t the only nutrient eyes require for health. Other foods contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to boost eye health. Here are some to try—all organic, of course.
Get your green on for eye health with green leafy veggies such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, arugula and more. They contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants which studies point to lowering the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.† Interestingly, lutein and zeaxanthin are found at concentrated levels in the lenses of the eyes.
Macular degeneration, by the way, is an irreversible destruction of the macula, which is the central area of the eye’s retina. It leads to loss of the sharp, fine-detail “straight ahead” vision required for activities such as reading, driving, face recognition and seeing what’s around you in color. It’s the leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older, with up to 11 million people in the U.S. who have some form of macular degeneration—a number that’s expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050. But it doesn’t affect only Americans. Advanced age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment worldwide.
Cataracts are clouding that occurs in the crystalline lens of the eyes or in their lens capsule, leading to an opaque appearance and obstructing the passage of light. They can cause loss of vision and can lead to blindness if untreated. The number of Americans affected by cataracts is 20.5 million, according to a 2013 Center for Disease Control report.
The incredible, edible egg can also contribute nutrients important for eye health. Egg yolks are great sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, too, as well as zinc, which all help to reduce macular degeneration risk,† says Paul Dougherty, M.D., medical director of Dougherty Laser Vision in Los Angeles.
Citrus fruits and other fruits contain significant amounts of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.† You can also get a little nutty with your eye health and eat almonds! They are packed with vitamin E, which slows down macular degeneration,† according to research. Just one handful—about an ounce—provides approximately half of your daily vitamin E requirement.
It may sound a little fishy, but fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, anchovies and trout are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is also abundant in your eye retina. Low levels of DHA have been linked to dry eye syndrome, according to Jimmy Lee, M.D., director of refractive surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
So, be sure to protect your peepers with these yummy foods.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.