Eye Health & Proper Nutrition
Maintaining Eye Health With Proper Nutrition
There are many actions that must be taken to maintain good eye health, but proper vitamin and nutrient intake is one that people tend to overlook. Consuming your daily requirement of key nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E is an important preventative measure that can help you avoid vision loss and costly treatments later on in life.
Research studies suggest that proper eye nutrition and antioxidant intake can significantly reduce the risk of common conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Incorporating essential vitamins into your diet has also been shown to prevent blindness and ease the symptoms of glaucoma.
Eye Health Vitamin Sources
There are many ways to ensure that your diet includes the nutrients your eyes need to remain healthy and strong. While some people purchase over-the-counter vitamin supplements that address the eye’s nutritional needs, others simply eat the foods that naturally contain these healthy compounds.
Read through this list of the vitamins and nutrients that improve eye health to see how you can include them in your daily meals.
- Eye Vitamins — Vitamins A, C, and E: Research has shown that vitamins A, C, and E are required to maintain healthy cells and tissues in the eye. Luckily, these important nutrients can be found in many common foods. By including adequate portions of fruits and vegetables into your diet, you can give your eyes the anti-oxidant vitamins they need to function at their best. Oranges, tomatoes, grapefruit, carrots, leafy greens, nuts, dairy, and eggs, are just some of the foods that contain these valuable nutrients.
- Eye Antioxidants — Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Lutein and zeaxanthin fall into a category of anti-oxidant compounds called carotenoids. Carotenoids are abundant in the North American diet, and they are essential to eye health thanks to their ability to defend healthy cells and tissues from potentially damaging free radicals. Healthy eyes love lutein and zeaxanthin, which are stored in high concentrations in the retina and lens of the eye. In addition to their antioxidant properties, these compounds can also filter harmful UV light. Among the best natural sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, zucchini, and brussel sprouts.
- Eye Health — Fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the development of many cells and organs in your body, including your eyes. Certain fatty acids are found in particularly high concentrations in the retina and are considered vital to healthy retinal function. Studies have also shown that people who consume more fatty acids have a lower risk of macular degeneration. Because your body cannot produce these complex acids on its own, it’s important to eat foods such as fish, nuts, and oils to deliver these nutrients to developing cells.
- Eye Minerals — Selenium and Zinc. In order to get the most out of the antioxidants and vitamins you consume, it is also important to consume minerals that will help your body absorb these nutrients easily. The two most common minerals for this process are selenium and zinc. These minerals help the oxidation process and make it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients and antioxidants you eat. To receive a healthy dose of selenium, you can eat walnuts, vitamin-enriched rice, tuna, beef, or chicken. For zinc, include portions of cheese, yogurt, and red meat.
Eye Nutrition Checklist
- Make sure you eat a well-balanced diet that includes lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Consider supplementing (not replacing) your diet with over-the-counter vitamins to ensure your eyes are receiving essential nutrients on a daily basis.
- Nutrition is only one aspect of maintaining good eye health. Schedule an appointment with a certified eye care specialist to discover other ways you can care for your eyes.
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