You’ve heard it before: what you eat makes a big difference in your overall health. But did you know that this fact applies to more than just your general physical health? Just as eating a balanced diet ensures that your body gets the nutrition it needs to function, a balanced diet will also impact your vision’s short- and long-term health.
And when we say “balanced diet,” we do mean balanced. Despite the commonplace idea that carrots equal healthy eyes, carrots alone won’t keep your eyes healthy and happy! While carrots are full of vitamin A - a nutrient that helps to keep our vision healthy - this single vitamin won’t fulfill every nutritional need that your eyes have.
A balanced diet that includes multiple vitamins and minerals, however, can often reduce your risk of developing certain eye diseases, including macular degeneration and cataract formation. Seeing as so many of us rely on our eyesight to function in our day-to-day lives, taking appropriate action to eat a more healthy and balanced diet may be one of the best ways you can work to preserve your vision for years to come.
Wondering what to eat to make your eyes happy? We’ve got you covered - and we recommend ensuring that your diet includes the following:
- Lots of leafy green vegetables. Leafy greens contain many antioxidants - particularly lutein and zeaxanthin - that will help protect your eyes against the damage that could accumulate over time due to exposure to sunlight, cigarette smoke, and air pollution. Plus, new research has found that leafy greens may make a huge difference in just how at risk you are of developing glaucoma. Simply adding a serving of kale, spinach, or broccoli to your meals will help to up your daily antioxidant intake - and if you're struggling with eating more green veggies, you can always eat more kiwis and grapes!
- Plenty of vitamin C. Vitamin C is believed to help reduce our long-term risk of developing cataracts or age-related vision loss. Fortunately, vitamin C is one of the easiest vitamins to eat - in addition to being added to many beverages, it's also found in numerous fruits and vegetables.
- More Vitamin E and zinc. Vitamin E and zinc are two nutrients that tend to get forgotten, despite the fact that they help protect our eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration, and night blindness. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to up your intake of both of these nutrients - as highlighted by these lists of food with Vitamin E and zinc. A little extra peanut butter and a turkey or chicken sandwich could be all it takes to make the difference in your eye-friendly diet!
- More omega-3 fatty acids. While saturated fats are not recommended and should be avoided whenever possible, it’s important to ensure that you do include healthy fats in your diet. Healthy fats ensure that our cells, muscles, nerves and organs can function normally - including the cells in our eyes. In fact, experts currently believe that omega-3’s help protect our eyes from macular degeneration, dry eye syndrome, and glaucoma. Many fish and dairy products are high in this excellent nutrient.
Eating more of each of these nutrients will go a long way in making your vision, and body, healthier and happier in the weeks, months, and even years to come. Still not sure what sorts of dietary changes you may need to make? You can contact one of our offices for more general advice, or you can work with your primary care doctor or a nutritionist to develop a personalized dietary plan that will address any specific health needs you have!