Foods High in Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Vitamins A and E Combat Eye Diseases

leafy greensEating a colorful array of fall vegetables will fortify your eyes with nutrients for healthy vision.

The eyes are among the most delicate and sensitive tissues in the body, so it is wise to eat foods that help improve eye function. Studies show that a diet rich in antioxidants can help prevent age-related degenerative eye disease like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Antioxidants are essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Here are some antioxidants that are essential for eye health:

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Description: Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids – organic plant pigments that fight inflammation, boost the immune system and prevent cancer.

How they benefit eye health: Lutein and zeaxanthin are deposited in the retina. Eating foods that are high in lutein and zeaxanthin helps build the density of these carotenoids in the macula. They absorb blue light and harmful ultraviolet rays, and over time, may decrease the risk for age-related macular degeneration.

Food sources: According to a study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, corn has the highest amount of lutein and orange bell pepper contains the highest amount of zeaxanthin. Other good sources of these carotenoids are spinach, zucchini, kale, Brussels sprouts and turnip greens, and egg yolks.

Suggested Recipes From Your Sight Matters:

Vitamin C

Description: Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, cannot be produced in the body and must be obtained through food. A diet rich in vitamin C protects cells from oxidative stress because ascorbic acid regenerates other antioxidants in the body.

How it benefits eye health: A diet rich in vitamin C may help delay the development of cataracts, a progressive disease that deteriorates the lens of the eye.

Food sources: Red pepper, green pepper, broccoli, tomato, cabbage, leafy greens, snow peas.

Suggested Recipes From Your Sight Matters:

Vitamin A

Description: Vitamin A is important for immunity, cellular communication and vision. Vitamin A is a component of rhodopsin, a light-absorbing protein, and is essential for corneal function.

How it benefits eye health: Eating foods that are high in vitamin A helps reduce glaucoma risk because vitamin A can protect the optic nerve from oxidative stress. It can also help prevent further damage to the optic nerve in patients who currently have glaucoma.

Food sources: Leafy greens, celery, carrots, sweet potato, green beans, radishes, acorn squash

Suggested Recipes From Your Sight Matters:

The next time you go to the grocery store or farmer’s market, look for these vegetables, legumes and leafy greens. And don’t forget to call your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate your vision health.

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