What Foods Improve Eye Health and Eyesight?
Updated: Oct 3
Eye health is an integral aspect of overall well-being and wellness, so taking care of your eyes is vital. That care starts at home, with what you eat. In fact, there are a number of foods that substantially contribute to improving eye health and maintaining good vision.
In this article, we will explore the various eye health foods you can consume to enhance, protect, and improve your vision. We will also discuss the key nutrients and vitamins that have a positive effect on your eyes.
Why is eye health important?
Good eye health is important for a number of reasons. Poor eyesight can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as reading or driving, and can lead to a decreased quality of life. Additionally, certain eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, can be debilitating and lead to permanent vision loss.
By consuming a balanced diet, rich in key nutrients and vitamins, your eyes will be healthier and more resistant to the development of adverse eye conditions.
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Eye health nutrition
Before looking into how to improve eye health with food, we need to go over the most significant factor that makes these foods so beneficial for the eyes - nutrition. The health of your eyes depends on receiving adequate amounts of certain vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients.
Among them are:
What foods help eye health?
Let’s take a look at some of the best foods you could consume to improve your eyes health:
Eye health fruits and vegetables
1. Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, are some of the best eye-health vegetables. They are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin - the antioxidants known for protecting the eyes against deteriorating vision caused by aging and cataracts.
2. Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables
Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are also on top of our list. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and yellow squash, for example, are amazing food sources to keep your eyes healthy! They are packed with beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body and is essential for maintaining good eye health.
3. Citrus fruits and Berries
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, which provides antioxidant protection against damage from harmful free radicals. Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries, are also eye-health fruits, high in antioxidants, and should always be present in your diet.
Other eye health food
4. Fatty fish
Fatty fish is also a wise choice for sufficient eye health nutrition. Fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through the diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to improving eye health by reducing inflammation in the body and providing essential fatty acids, important for maintaining the health of the retina (the part of the eye responsible for transmitting visual information to the brain).
In addition, omega-3 fatty acids can promote the health of the blood vessels in the eyes, reducing the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can cause vision loss in people with diabetes. Last but not least, they protect against age-related vision loss.
Eggs are a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two of the most important antioxidants for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in the macula, a small, central portion of the retina that is responsible for central vision.
These antioxidants help to protect the eyes from eye conditions that could cause vision loss as you age (cataracts and macular degeneration). Furthermore, eggs are a good source of protein, which is a vital component for maintaining your overall eye health.
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6. Nuts and seeds
Some of the best nuts and seeds for eye health include almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, lentils, cashew, chia, and flaxseeds. Nuts and seeds typically contain vitamin E, an essential antioxidant for good eye health.
They also contain zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, which makes them even more beneficial to your eyes. Aim for at least one serving of nuts and seeds per day in order to reap the benefits.
Don’t forget to drink water
Staying hydrated is imperative for maintaining the health of all parts of the body, including the eyes.
Dry eyes are a common problem, and drinking enough water significantly contributes to keeping the eyes hydrated and reducing symptoms such as redness, itching, and burning. Dehydration can also cause eye strain, which can lead to unpleasant headaches and discomfort.
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Can eating healthy improve eyesight?
Incorporating eye-healthy foods into your diet will ensure you are getting enough of the crucial nutrients for eye health. However, it is necessary to note that while a healthy diet could improve eyesight and protect against age-related vision loss, it is not a 100% guarantee.
Other factors such as genetics, environmental factors, acquired eye diseases, and lifestyle choices can also play a role in the health of your eyes. Overall, eating a healthy diet is one important step you can take to protect your eyes.
But it is also advisable to consult with your eye doctor or healthcare provider to develop a personalized plan for maintaining your eye health. By doing that you are also making sure not to ignore any crucial dietary restrictions that might affect your health and avoid potential allergy reactions to some of these foods.
Read more about how to improve your eye health in Ophthalmology24's For Patients blog section.
"Lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in plasma after dietary supplementation with egg yolk" American Journal for Clinical Nutrition
"Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Eye Health: Summary" Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
All medical facts were checked by Atanas Bogoev M.D.
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