Being able to see the world is a blessing. The eyes are the most important sensory organs that help you experience and develop senses and feel without touch. That’s why you must protect them. Of course, age, genetics, and electronics affect your eyesight, but the foods you choose to eat can help by preventing photodamage and keeping your retina and cornea healthy. In this article, we list 15 foods that you MUST include in your diet to protect your eyesight. Swipe up!
Foods To Maintain And Protect Your Eyesight
Carrots are gorgeous and wholesome vegetables. They are very versatile and impart an amazing color to any dish. They are loaded with beta-carotene, an antioxidant and a precursor of vitamin A. Scientists have found that consuming carrots improves night vision in people and can prevent deterioration of eyesight (1). Carrots also help prevent oxidative damage and inflammation – the two major causes of eyesight problems.
You can find several recipes for carrot soup on the internet. Add them to curries or pair them up with other veggies. Raw carrots offer maximum nourishment since cooking them slightly deteriorates their nutritional profile. Munch on a carrot whenever you get an urge to snack. Or add it to your salads. But remember to drink lots of water. Also, do not overeat carrots as vitamin A can be toxic in high doses.
2. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish are rich sources of omega-3-fatty acids. And omega-3s help reduce inflammation by balancing out the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid ratio. When the inflammation levels are low, your body and brain functions improve, thereby strengthening your immunity. Plus, the area near the retina is loaded with DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid (2). Therefore, consuming fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel is beneficial for your eye health.
If you are not a fish eater, you can take fish oil supplements after talking to your doctor. The best way to consume fatty fish is to grill it. Frying or poaching may reduce its food value.
Spinach is rich in vitamins E, A, B, and C, minerals like iron and zinc, and phytonutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. The carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, consuming an adequate amount of spinach daily can help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Since it contains zinc, spinach can also keep the corneas healthy.
Add a bunch of lush green spinach to your smoothies. You may add fruits to your spinach smoothie to nullify any grassy or bitter taste. Spinach daal or soup tastes great too! Add baby spinach to sandwiches or a creamy pasta dish to give a little crunch to your food.
Eggs are loaded with essential amino acids and both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. The egg yolk, though a little high in cholesterol, is a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which impart the yellow color to it (3).
Consume one or two whole eggs to keep your eyes healthy. Boiled, poached, or soft-boiled eggs are best and can be added to other foods to enhance their taste.
Milk and yogurt are great for improving eye health. Apart from calcium and phosphorus, they are loaded with zinc and vitamin A. Vitamin A helps protect the cornea, and zinc helps transport vitamin A to the eyes from the liver. Zinc also helps with night vision and prevents cataract.
You can drink grass-fed milk in the morning or at night before going to bed. Have yogurt after lunch or as a snack.
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and vitamin E, which helps reduce inflammation. Research has also confirmed that consuming nuts rich in vitamin E can help prevent age-related cataract formation (4).
You must have a handful of mixed nuts every day to help improve and protect your vision. However, be careful with these small bundles of joy as you can easily go overboard with them.
Like spinach, kale is also loaded with vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and lutein. Lutein helps prevent light and oxidative damages and protects the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and cataract (5).
About 100 g of kale can provide you with 11 mg of lutein. You can have kale in salads, soups, smoothies, wraps, and sandwiches.
8. Whole Grains
Whole grains are a great source of dietary fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Zinc and vitamin E are the two main eye health-promoting nutrients present in them. These help protect the eyes from oxidative damage and inflammation.
Consume quinoa, whole lentils, oats, and brown rice to boost eye health.
Oysters are rich in zinc that helps improve eye health. You may consume oysters from a reputed restaurant.
10. Red Bell Pepper
Red bell pepper is a good source of vitamins A, E, and C and zeaxanthin and lutein. These vitamins and phytonutrients are known to protect the eyes from macular degeneration and help maintain good retina health by preventing oxidative damage.
Consume raw, blanched, or sautéed red bell pepper.
Broccoli is one vegetable that has numerous health benefits. The vitamins A, E, C, and lutein present in broccoli makes it an excellent food for your eyes. It helps protect your visual health by preventing photodamage and oxidative damage.
Consume roasted or blanched broccoli.
12. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are extremely good for your overall health. These are packed with vitamin E, protein, and healthy fats. These nutrients help reduce inflammation and remove metabolic wastes from the eyes (6).
Toss a few sunflower seeds in your breakfast bowl, salads, or smoothies.
13. Citrus Fruits
The eyes have a high metabolic rate and constantly need antioxidants to flush out toxins produced as a result of metabolic reactions (7). Citrus fruits like oranges, berries, and kiwis are loaded with vitamin C – an amazing immunity booster. It is an antioxidant that helps scavenge the harmful oxygen radicals, thereby protecting your eye muscles from damage. Vitamin C also helps improve the health of the blood vessels present in the eyes.
14. Beans And Legumes
Beans and legumes are great sources of zinc and bioflavonoids. These help protect the retina and prevent the risk of developing a cataract.
Consume an adequate amount of lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, green peas, and sprouts to improve your eye health.
15. Sweet Potato/Purple Sweet Potato
Sweet potato and purple sweet potato help improve vision (10). As mentioned above, the yellow pigment in foods is imparted by zeaxanthin and lutein. Sweet potatoes contain these antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and flush out toxins.
You can consume baked or boiled sweet potato to reap all its benefits.
Apart from these foods, here are a few tips to maintain and protect your eyesight.
How To Take Care Of Your Eyes To Prevent Eyesight Problems
Foods make taking care of your eyes easier, but you must do a few things to help these foods do their work properly. Here are a few things you need to do to prevent visual impairment.
- Eye Exercises
You must exercise your eyes to strengthen the muscles. Focus unfocus, palming, rolling your eyes, etc. are a few examples of eye exercises.
- Splash Water
All of us are hooked to our laptops, iPads, or cell phones. The radiation from these devices is very harmful, and no matter how many layers of protective coats we add to the glasses, the eyes always get affected. Cool your eyes by splashing water on them every one or two hours.
- Close Your Eyes
A tight deadline can turn you into a night owl. Unfortunately, the eyes of owls are designed differently. Give your eyes 2-3 minutes rest simply by closing them. Do it every 30 minutes, and you will see a difference.
- Adjust The Lighting
Adjust the lighting on your computer, cell phone, and iPad – it will help protect your eyesight by preventing photodamage.
- Wear Sunglasses
You must protect your eyesight from bright sunlight. If you are stepping out and it is very sunny outside, wear sunglasses. They will prevent photodamage and UV damage.
- Get The Right Spectacles
Go to a good eye doctor for a checkup. Make sure you answer his/her questions correctly to help him/her prescribe the correct glasses for you.
To conclude, there’s nothing like being able to see and take in all that the world has to offer. So, take care of your eyes by consuming good food and making a few changes in your lifestyle. Cheers!