Food for Your Eyes

iStock_000018676027XSmallMany Americans have been told what to eat to keep their heart healthy or weight down; however, most of us are not well versed about what to eat to promote good eye health.  Eating well affects the entire body.  The same foods that have a preventive effect on the eyes will also positively affect other body systems. (Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)  Estimates suggest that 21 million Americans have some sort of functional vision problem or eye condition with vision loss being among the top 10 disabilities in adults in the United States.

A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can benefit not only your heart but also your eyes.  Your eyes and heart both rely on arteries throughout the body for oxygen and nutrition, keeping your arteries healthy will help your eyes in the long run.

Keep your eyes in good condition by incorporating these foods into your diet, your heart and your eyes will thank you.

  • Kale– Leafy green vegetables are high in vitamin A and antioxidants that protect and maintain healthy cells.  Two of the nutrients found in kale, lutein and zeaxanthin are believed to lower your risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
  • Salmon– Some studies suggest a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish like salmon, tuna and sardines reduce the risk of developing eye disease later in life.
  • Oysters– Zinc deficiency has been linked to impaired vision and poor night vision, as well as cloudy cataracts.  Oysters are a great source of zinc however if they are not for you, try lobster, beef or milk for your zinc fix.
  • Oranges– Fruits in the citrus family including grapefruits, tangerines, lemons and oranges are high in vitamin C.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant critical to eye health.  Research has found that your eyes need high levels of vitamin C to function properly.
  • Carrots– High in beta-carotene, a nutrient that helps with night vision, carrots are a great addition to any diet to keep eyes healthy.  Other orange-colored fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes and cantaloupe are high in beta-carotene as well.