In Part 1 of our series on eye health and beauty, we looked at how we can exercise our eyes, to give them the best chance of functioning like they should. In Part 2, we examine the importance of diet.
Eat the Right Foods
We all know how important our diet is if we want to keep our weight down or even care for our skin, but eating the right foods also plays a role in eye health. Here’s some important nutrients and supplements we should (haha!) keep an eye out for:
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin are important nutrients that help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. They can be found in green vegetables like kale and spinach, as well as in eggs and oranges
- Vitamin C is similarly important for our eyes, especially when it comes to supporting the health of blood vessels in the eye. Grapefruit juice can be a good choice here, although vegetables like broccoli, green and red peppers and leafy greens are a better bet if you are looking to minimize your sugar intake (but remember – when it comes to fruit and vegetables, and particularly those where you eat the skin, eat organic if you can, to minimise exposure to chemical pesticides!).
- A number of studies have shown that Vitamin E plays a positive role in improving vision. This is because it protects eye cells from unstable molecules called free radicals, which break down healthy eye tissue. Nuts, avocado and spinach are all good sources of Vitamin E.
- Essential fatty acids, which can be found in fish or walnuts, can help preserve vision, as well as relieving dry eye and chronic inflammation of the eyelids.
- Zinc has been shown to protect against macular degeneration and night blindness. Good food sources of zinc include oysters and other seafood, beef, eggs, black-eyed peas, tofu and wheat germ.
- And finally, it seems mom knew a thing or two after all! Beta-carotene really is good for our eyes. Our bodies transform it into Vitamin A and this helps with night vision and sensitivity to light. We all know it can be found in carrots, but other sources include spinach, broccoli, raspberries, and apricots.
Oh, and what about foods we should avoid? Are there any types of food that can actively damage our eyes? Sadly, the answer is yes. In particular, studies have shown that diets high in sugar, polyunsaturated fats, and even salt, can harm our eyes. If you really want to care for your eyes (and your general health, in truth), then try to reduce your consumption of fried foods, soft drinks, sugary sauces, processed meats, and ready meals.
In the end, it’s all about common sense. Eat well for your wellbeing. Eat well for your eyes.