Last updated 04/22/2021
It may seem what you eat affects how well you see. Eating a healthy diet is good for overall health. But these are nutrients and foods especially helpful to improve your vision. Not only do they keep your eyes healthy but some may even reduce your risk for eye diseases.
A low fat diet that’s rich with fruits and vegetables and whole grains is great for your eyes. Your eyes have tiny arteries that survive on oxygen and nutrients. You need to feed these arteries to keep eyes healthy.
Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis. More details.
Using our devices all day is another culprit to eye health. These add to our environment of high oxidative stress. The retina, specifically our macula is thought to have a high amount of free radicals, damaging protein and DNA inside cells.
Antioxidants found in many foods are needed to fight these and protect the retina from damage.
How Diet Affects Your Eye Health
Eating a diet high in processed foods lacks nutritional value making it an unhealthy choice. Nutrients are needed to support essential eye and vision health. Specific vitamins and nutrients can support eye health and prevent damaging eye and vision conditions.
Actually, a high fat, processed food diet may increase your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Vitamin E has shown a reduction with risk of age-related cataracts (ARC). Vitamins E and C also iron can reduce your risk for age-related eye health declining.
Other nutrients important to eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are found in the retina. Including these in your diet provides antioxidants that improve pigment density in the macula.
This pigment provides protection to the macular cells through absorbing excess blue and ultraviolet light also neutralizing free radicals.
If you are diabetic and are dehydrated these factors can also lead to chronic vision and eye conditions. Eye strains and genetics play a major part in eye health and vision.
DHA is found in high amounts in the outer segments of our retinal photoreceptors, a component of omega-3 fatty acid. Inflammation may have a connection to AMD. Omega-3 contains anti-inflammatory qualities.
A diet containing omega-3 fatty acids may keep proliferative retinopathies from developing. These are a major cause for blindness.
Eye Conditions that can be prevented with a healthy diet;
- Dry eyes
- Poor night vision
What Vitamins and Nutrients Benefit Eye Health?
Vitamin A helps eyes stay moist to prevent dry eye. It is important with our night vision also supporting the growth and development of our cornea.
Vitamin C lowers your chances for developing cataracts. It is an antioxidant that can help delay or slow age-related macular degeneration and loss of vision, even more so when it is added to other eye healthy nutrients.
Vitamin C aids in repairing and the growth of new tissue cells, so important to eye health.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects your eyes from those free radicals which damage healthy tissue.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids especially eicosapntaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have an important role with fueling cells and improving the central nervous system. These are essential in your vision development; keeping proper eye and retinal tear function which could improve dry eye and your retinal health.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that lower your risk for age-related macular degeneration as well as cataracts and other chronic eye diseases.
They are known to protect your macula which gives you your central and more detailed vision. Our intake of these nutrients has also shown improvement in the macula pigment density.
Zinc is a mineral heavily concentrated in the eye helping with getting vitamin A from your liver to the retina. Here it aids in making melanin, the pigment needed to protect the eyes.
Getting minerals and vitamins through your diet is the best way to get eye healthy nutrients. However, those having macular degeneration are encouraged to add supplements.
What are the Best Foods for Eye Health?
Fish are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids with plenty of EDA and DHA. So eat more cold water fish such as;
- Also walnuts and flax seeds
Broccoli is easy to add in stir fries and other dishes. It contains vitamin C along with lutein and zeaxanthin.
Nuts and Legumes
Nuts and legumes some include omega-3s and vitamin E so these are a smart and easy source of rich nutrients;
- Brazil nuts
Citrus fruits including lemons, oranges and grapefruit contain great amounts of eye healthy vitamin C along with red bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes and pineapple.
Did your mother ever tell you to eat your carrots to see better? She was right! Orange vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamin A including those sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots and yes, carrots.
Eggs loaded with protein for eye support including omega-3s, lutein and vitamin.
Leafy greens besides containing vitamin C, spinach and kale are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin. Actually cooking these may help your body absorb the lutein better. These also include lutein and zeaxanthin;
- Romaine lettuce
- Turnip greens
Avocadoes, almonds and sunflower seeds are good sources of vitamin E.
Beef contains higher amounts of zinc an essential mineral. Other foods with zinc are certain yogurts, nuts and beans.
Zinc is found in beans (legumes) such as kidney beans and lima beans. Other foods like oysters, lean red meats, poultry and fortified cereals.
But be careful not to overdo, zinc can also lower amounts of copper in the body another mineral we need that helps make red blood cells.
What Foods Increase your Risk for Vision Problems?
Eating unhealthy high processed foods not containing valuable nutrients won’t provide you with enough supporting nutrients for essential eye and vision health. In fact an unhealthy diet may increase your risk to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Other diet dangers of eye health:
- Diet soda
- High sodium
- Refined carbohydrates
Nutritional imbalances can also cause eye twitches (muscle spasms) involving the eyelid. An unhealthy diet is a risk factor leading to myokymia. This can be a small but noticeable movement. Common causes are caffeine, smoking and fatigue.
It is never too late to improve your diet for overall health. I am not a nutritionist but these foods have been known to improve eye health. Have I made you hungry? Grab something on the list for eye health!
Has diet improved your eye condition?
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