You know what you put into your body matters for health, but does that include your eye health? The nutrients you get from food are a big part of keeping your eyes healthy. For example, age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S., but studies show the right combination of diet and lifestyle reduces those risks. What foods should Birmingham residents eat to keep your vision strong and your eyes fit?
Spinach and Kale
There is a reason Popeye grabbed for that can of spinach when he needed a boost. It is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that are good for you and your eyes, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. These two components work their way into the lens and retina to absorb damaging visible light. They are also two essential nutrients that people don't always get enough of even when they eat right, so go ahead and add some dark, leafy greens to your life to up your lutein and zeaxanthin and protect your eyes.
Strawberries are packed full of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that is not only good for the eyes but for your skin and heart, too. Of course, you can get vitamin C from many different foods if you're not a fan of those red berries. Other sources include:
These are all good choices that will protect your eyes from both cataracts and macular degeneration.
No eye-friendly diet is complete without a little beta-carotene. This form of vitamin A helps keep the retina healthy. The power is in the orange color, though, so any orange food offers the same benefit. Other practical choices for beta-carotene include pumpkin or sweet potatoes.
The yolk is another superfood that contains plenty of lutein and zeaxanthin. Eggs are also a good source of zinc, known to reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration. That combination means eating eggs will definitely help keep your eyes at their best. You can also find zinc in turkey peanuts and whole grains if you would prefer to avoid eggs.
Nuts like almond or pecans contain both vitamin C and vitamin E – holistic choices that work for your eyes and body. A simple change like adding a handful of sunflower seeds to your next salad will add a layer of protection between your eyes and diseases that can rob you of your sight.
The same thing in seafood that works to keep your heart healthy will help your eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids protect the eyes from inflammation and keep the cells functioning at peak. Next time you are thinking about fish for dinner, look for cold-water species like salmon or choose to have tuna, halibut or flounder to get the most omega-3 possible.
You already know you need to eat right to stay healthy. Why not consider your healthy eyes, too, when planning out those good meals for you and your family.