We are bombarded with the latest and greatest diet plans to help us lose weight and look like a movie star. While it’s unrealistic for any one diet plan to fit the needs of everyone, many of these diet plans do focus on the importance of providing your body with healthy foods, rich in nutrients essential for your body to perform at optimal levels.
Your eyes are no different. Clear vision and healthy eyes are reliant on proper nutrition. The next time you are in the grocery store or open the refrigerator door to “see” what looks good, ask yourself if that particular food is beneficial to your eye health and overall vision.
You have probably heard how antioxidants are critical in the prevention of heart diseases and cancers. Just like other parts of your body, they are also very important in the prevention of eye diseases. Antioxidants are found in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Here’s a list of a few key vitamins and minerals (nutrients) vital to maximizing eye health and maintaining clear vision:
Vitamin A helps the retina function properly as well as reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Foods rich in Vitamin A include, but are not limited to:
- Liver (Beef liver, Chicken liver, Turkey liver)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Herbs (Parsley, Thyme, etc.)
- Butternut Squash
Vitamin C also helps reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts. Foods rich in Vitamin C include, but are not limited to:
- Citrus Fruits (Oranges, Grapefruit, Lemons, Limes)
- Tropical Fruits (Papaya and Kiwi)
- Chili Peppers
- Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Swiss Chard, Mustard Greens, Spinach, Lettuces)
- Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts
- Fresh Herbs (Thyme, Parsley, etc.)
Vitamin E has been shown to help prevent cataracts and slow the growth of cataracts that have developed. Foods rich in Vitamin E include, but are not limited to:
- Tropical Fruits such as Papaya and Kiwi (Note how these fruits contain more than just one beneficial vitamin)
- Wheat germ (Most Vitamin E is found in the germ)
- Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Pistachios, Cashews, Pecans, Macadamias, Sunflower Seeds)
- Dark Leafy Greens such as Spinach, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard and Kale (Note how these foods contains many essentials vitamins and minerals)
- Oils (Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil, Safflower Oil, Corn Oil)
Zinc is an essential mineral for eye health. In fact, zinc concentrations in the eyes are higher than any other part of the human body. People with macular degeneration typically have low levels of zinc in the retina. Eating foods rich in zinc can help prevent macular degeneration. Foods high in zinc include, but are not limited to:
- Sesame Seeds
- Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
Selenium is another mineral important for maximum eye health. A person with cataracts has a significantly lower level of selenium than someone who does not have cataracts. Therefore, maintaining proper levels of selenium are important to prevent cataracts from forming. Foods rich in selenium include, but are not limited to:
- Fish (Tuna, Cod, Salmon, Sardines, Flounder, Halibut)
- Mushrooms (Button mushrooms, Shiitakes, Criminis)
- Poultry (Chicken and Turkey)
- Brazil Nuts
- Grains (Wheat germ, oats, brown rice, barley)
Talk to Your Eye Doctor About Your Eye Diet
It’s important to talk to your optometrist and discuss what foods you are eating and what foods you should be eating to promote good eye health and clear vision. It’s also beneficial to speak with your eye doctor about ingesting vitamins and minerals naturally by eating foods rich in eye-healthy nutrients or whether a vitamin or mineral supplement is appropriate for your particular needs.
To learn more about quality eye care and eye wear at all stages in your life, please visit http://www.shawneeoptical.com.