Foods that Your Eyes Like
Just about every Mom in the world has told her child, who is busy pushing his or her carrots around their plate and not eating them, to “eat your carrots — they’re good for your eyes.”
Is that true?
While certain foods can provide instant benefits for areas such as providing energy (marathon runners loading up on pasta a day before the race), the various foods that benefit your eyes take on a protective function, keeping them healthier and helping them ward off vision problems.
Since many of these foods are found right here in California, the team at Central Valley Eye Medical Group thought it would be appropriate to pass information on them to you.
Let’s jump right in with carrots; your Mom’s favorite. Carrots are full of beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A that helps the retina and other parts of the eye to function. Beta-carotene gives fruits and vegetables their orange hue, so you’ll find it in carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, apricots, and cantaloupe.
Lutein and zeaxanthin
Your Mom didn’t tell you about lutein and zeaxanthin, but she would have had she known about these two antioxidants. Lutein and zeaxanthin help the eyes to ward off cataracts and macular degeneration. Leafy green vegetables (cooked kale and spinach are the highest sources) and other green and yellow vegetables are good sources of these antioxidants. Eggs also have lutein and zeaxanthin, along with zinc. The macula has high levels of zinc.
Citrus and vitamin C
Citrus and berries contain all kinds of health benefits. These fruits are great sources of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body form and maintains its connective tissue, including collagen found in the cornea of the eye. It also reduces the risk for the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration. You’ll find vitamin C in berries, sweet red peppers, broccoli, and oranges.
Despite their reputation for requiring more than their share of California’s water, almonds contain vitamin E, another ally in the fight against macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin E appears to neutralize oxidation in the eyes. Cataracts, for example, are formed by oxidation in the lens of the eye caused by the UV rays in sunlight. Almonds, sunflower seeds, cereal with wheat germ, hazelnuts, peanuts, and peanut butter are all good sources of vitamin E.
Finally, get a little fishy when warding off macular degeneration. Oily fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon, and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acid. A diet heavy in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce age-related macular degeneration by 38 percent.
Now you know what you should be eating to keep your eyes healthy. Speaking of your eye health, is it time for your next eye exam? Call the team at Central Valley Eye Medical Group, (800) 244-9907, to schedule your appointment.
Posted in: Eye Care