Eye care means preventing your eyes from any kind of infection or disease. People often believe that losing eyesight is the result of aging or eye strain. But, a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of eye health problems.
A balanced diet plays an important role in maintaining eye health, as it does for every other part of the body. Many people take healthy diets to improve digestion, the immune system, weight, skin, and mood, but many forget that diet is important for healthy eyes and eyesight too.
The age-related study published in 2001 found that certain nutrients reduce the risk of eye health. Knowing which food is good for eye health is really important. There is such a wide range of different vitamins and minerals that are essential to eye health, so you need to ensure that your diet covers all the necessary foods for your eye health.
For your eye care, you can do many routine things that are beneficial for the eye such as cleanliness, healthy diet, proper rest. The most important vitamins and minerals for eye health are vitamins A, C and E, zinc and carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin. In addition, omega 3 fatty acids are also important.
Foods For Eye Health
Here is a list of food that is essential for maintaining the health of the eyes. Generally available all around the year with a reasonable price.
Fruits and Vegetables(Red, yellow and orange)
Bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes and citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are great sources of Vitamin C and beta carotenes(carotenoids) which can help in the production of connective tissues such as collagen, also acts as a natural antioxidant, keeping your eyes safe from the degenerating effects of oxidative stress. Try to incorporate many colors of food in your diet. Avoid any unhealthy and processed food as it contains a huge amount of fats in it, which is not good for eye health.
Leafy Green Vegetables
These contain important vitamins and minerals such as lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and vitamins E and C. Other green vegetables such as broccoli and Brussel sprouts also contain lots of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Some of the well known leafy green vegetables are:
Many fish which are rich resources of omega3 fatty acid, incorporate more fish into your diet. Fish that have oil in their gut and body tissue are Oily fish, so eating them offers higher levels of omega-3 fatty acid. The fish that contains the most higher levels of omega-3s include:
Some studies confirm that it reverse the dry eyes caused due to longtime computer usage.
Nuts and Legumes
Nuts are good source of dietary fibre and provide a wide range of essential nutrients, including Vitamin B ( folate), vitamin E, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium, antioxidant minerals (selenium, manganese and copper), plus other phytochemicals such as antioxidant compounds (flavonoids) and plant sterols.
Legumes are low in fat, almost contain no cholesterol, but are high in folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and fiber. A rich source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat.
Nuts also contain a high level of vitamin E, which can protect the eye from age-related damage. Both nuts and legumes boost your body’s natural protection against dry eyes.
Legumes and Nuts that are good for eye health are:
- Brazil nuts
Seeds (pumpkin and sunflower)
Seeds are rich in vitamin E, omega 3 and Zinc. Here is the list of seeds that are rich in omega 3 are:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Hemp seeds
Citrus Fruits(Vitamin C)
Vitamin C supports the health of blood vessels in the eyes. Our body does not synthesize all of the vitamins we need. This is why daily intake of vitamin C through diet, and nutritional supplements are important for maintaining good eye health.
Fruits that are rich in Vitamin C include:
Eggs are the best food for eye health. The yolk contains Vitamin A, Leutin, Zeaxanthin, and Zinc which are all essential for eye health. Vitamin A is a safeguard for the cornea. Leutin and Zeaxanthin lower the chances of getting serious eye conditions like cataract. Zinc maintains the health of the retina and also make eye capable to see at night.
Almonds are nuts that are rich in vitamin E . This vitamin protects against unstable molecule that effects healthy tissue of the eye. Consuming regularly can prevent it from the cataract and age-related macular degeneration.
Dairy products like milk and yogurt are also good for eye health. It also contains zinc. Vitamin A protects the cornea while zinc brings that vitamin to the eyes from the liver. Zinc is found in every part of the eye, especially the retina and choroid, it is a vascular tissue that lies under the retina. This mineral helps with night vision as well as the prevention of cataracts. Dairy from green grass-fed cows provides the most benefits. Yogurt is the best option for breakfast.
Carrots and Sweet potatoes
Carrot and sweet potato both are the best sources of Vitamin A and beta carotene. These are well known for eye health. It prevents eye infection and other serious eye conditions. Sweet potato is also a good source of antioxidants.
Drinking plenty of water can prevent dehydration, thereby reducing the symptoms of dry eyes.
Why these Vitamins and Minerals are important for eye health?
Vitamin A is essential for good eye health as it protects the retina and cornea of the eye. Deficiency of vitamin A causes impaired eyesight and night blindness which is very common in the UK.
Vitamin C is important for making connective tissues such as collagen, which is found in the cornea of the eye. It reduces the risk of cataract.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and important in protecting the eye from unstable molecules called free radicals, which damage the healthy tissues of the eye.
Zinc is important for cellular processes such as cell division and enzyme activity so it is important for the whole body maintenance, not just for the eyes. It also plays a key role in maintaining the health of the retina.
Carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin protect the eyes from sunlight and also play an important role in the scattering and absorption of light, so they can actually help improve eyesight!
Omega 3 fatty acids are important for general eye health, but in particular, they are thought to prevent dry eye syndrome and protect against the degeneration of the retina (macular degeneration) which is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly.
Tips to maintain good eye health
It is important to take care of your eyes on a regular basis to maintain eye health. Eating eye-healthy foods is not the only way to protect your eyes. Other ways you can keep your eyes healthy include:
- Visiting an eye doctor every year
- While going outside wear sunglasses
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Wear protective eye gear when engaging in sports, hobbies, home projects, or work-related activities
- Managing blood sugar or diabetes can also affect the eye.
Recommended daily intake of these vitamins and minerals
The current daily recommendations for healthy eye nutrients, suggested by the AAO(American Academy of Opthalmology) to slow down the progression of eye disease, are:
- 500mg of vitamin C
- 400 iu(international units) of vitamin E
- 10-milligram lutein
- 2-milligram zeaxanthin
- 80 milligram of zinc oxide
- 2 milligram of copper oxide
As you think about ways to improve your eye health, keep in mind that: Vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements are not the treatment of eye disease, nor will they give you sight back which you have already lost. But good nutrition at all ages is important for your entire body and plays an important role in maintaining healthy eyes. Talk to your eye doctor about your eye health.