In this era where screen time dominates most of our entertainment, communication, and sometimes work, long exposure to the light from screens affects the eyes. When screen time is combined with pollution, poor eye care, weather, and diseases, the eyes can get weak, sick and one may completely lose sight. Another cause of poor eye health is diabetes which is also common and caused by too much weight gain, inactivity, high blood pressure, and others.
Eye health is very important and besides medication or proper eye hygiene, the right food can save your eyes. The best foods for eye health are carrots, eggs, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, fish, and water.
What foods improve eye health naturally?
The right choice of foods can help save your eyes. Below are the best foods you can eat to improve your eye health.
There is a common belief that carrots are good for the eyes. Although it started as a myth from World war 2 when British Royal force pilots began using radars to target enemy planes and attributed carrots for excellent eyesight in order to keep that new technology a secret.
Although carrots aren’t magical eye health foods as it is believed, they contain compounds that promote eye health.
In carrots are huge amounts of compounds such as beta carotene and lutein which are antioxidants that help prevent eye damage caused by free radicals and inflammation. Free radicals are responsible for cellular damage, and age-related degenerative eye diseases
It is from beta carotene that the body converts vitamin A whose deficiency can lead to night blindness.
You will find eggs in almost every diet as they are super nutritious. Even for the eyes, eggs are packed with nutrients such as vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc, which are essential for eye health.
The vitamin A found in the eggs is responsible for keeping the cornea healthy while Lutein and zeaxanthin are responsible for decreasing the risk of eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Finally, zinc found in eggs can help to keep the retina healthy.
Lemons, grapefruit, pomelo, oranges, lime, tangerine, and other citrus fruits can promote eye health. Citrus fruits are packed with vitamins E and C that act as antioxidants to fight off age-related eye damage.
Citrus fruits also help to keep the eyes hydrated. Vitamin C in citrus fruits helps in the development and health of vascular structures in the eyes.
Additionally, the vitamin promotes the growth of healthy blood vessels that lead blood to the eyes. This ensures steady blood flow thus healthy eyes.
Leafy green vegetables.
They are among the most recommended foods to eat for proper health as they are packed with essential nutrients for a healthy lifestyle. Even for the eyes, leafy green vegetables are a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin compounds that protect the eyes against inflammation, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts.
Leafy greens are also a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin c can lower the risk of developing cataracts as well as slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.
Kale and spinach are the leafy veggies with the most eye-friendly nutrients. Other leafy greens include Romain lettuce, collards, turnip greens, and broccoli.
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You read it right, fish is among the best foods you can eat for eye health due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids that play an important role in eye health. The eyes need omega 3 fatty acids to function properly.
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that keep the retina healthy, eyes hydrated and promote general eye health.
Salmon, mackerel, sardines, codfish, herring, and anchovies are among the fish with huge amounts of omega 3 fatty acids necessary for eye health.
In fact, low levels of fatty acids in the body are linked to dry eyes.
Other kinds of seafood such as shellfish, oysters, and others are also packed with omega 3 fatty acids.
Alternatively, fish oil is extracted from the fish and used as supplements. In fact, fish oil contains more omega 3 fatty acids than fish since oils are concentrated and other nutrients are taken out.
To improve your eye health, taking more dairy will save your eyes. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and others contain vitamin A and zinc which are essential nutrients for eye health.
The vitamin A found in dairy products can help keep the cornea healthy while zinc helps supply required nutrients to the eyes.
These nutrients help fight night blindness and cataracts.
Seeds and nuts.
The power of improving eye health by nuts and seeds is attributed to the huge amounts of vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids. Seeds and nuts are highly nutritious packed with vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and omega 3 fatty acids that are essential for eye health.
They are also rich in antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals that may be responsible for cellular damage and age-related degenerative eye diseases.
Studies suggest that high dietary intake of vitamins C and E lowers the risk of cataracts. Vitamin E can also improve and protect your vision. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, are rich in vitamin E and other essential nutrients for eye care.
Other nuts and seeds for eye health are hazelnuts, peanuts, brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and cashews.
Meat including beef, lamb, pork is rich in proteins and zinc that are essential for eye health. For example, from 100 g of raw ground beef, you get about 4.8 mg of zinc which is 44% of the daily required value. Additionally, from the same amount, you get 20 grams of proteins and 10 grams of fat.
Getting enough zinc can boost the eyes, immunity against eye diseases caused by zinc deficiency.
Being excellent sources of beta carotene and vitamin E, sweet potatoes are good at boosting eye health. Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene a form of vitamin A that increases immunity against night blindness.
Beans and other legumes.
Vegetarians that don’t eat animal products have a great alternative to get nutrients essential for eye health. Beans and legumes are packed with proteins and zinc that are essential for eye health.
Eating black eye peas, kidney beans, lima beans, lentils, chickpeas can help you meet your zinc requirements from beans and legumes.
11. Drink enough water.
Water is very essential in keeping your eyes healthy. Not drinking enough water can cause dry eyes, blurry vision, vision distortion, and increase the risk of eyes getting infected.
On average, 3.7 liters of water for men while women should take about 2.7 liters of water. It should, however, be noted that these are just standard estimates and everyone needs a certain amount of water depending on the climate physical activities, and other factors everyone goes through.
What foods are bad for eye health?
While some foods improve eye health others can ruin it. The foods that ruin eye health are usually those that affect heart health. Since the eyes are vascular which means that relies on heart health for the proper supply of blood with nutrients and oxygen.
Foods that cause fatty acids in capillaries that lead to the eyes should be avoided as fatty deposits can easily cause blocked veins.
The foods that should be avoided are;
Condiments, toppings, and dressing: these are usually high in fat and added sugars that can cause the development of fats and weight gain.
Processed meats: although meat is essential for eye health, choosing meat with a lot of preservatives, salt, fat, and cholesterol can pose a risk to your health and eyes as well.
Margarine: this is full of trans fats that can affect your cholesterol levels.
Foods that are high in saturated fats: foods such as French fries, cookies, and other foods with a lot of trans fats are bad for eye health.
Fried foods: the fatty oils in fried foods are friendly to the eyes as they raise cholesterol. Too much cholesterol is known for clogging the arteries, increasing the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and vision loss.
Sweetened drinks: consuming huge amounts of sugar can increase the risk of fatty deposits in blood vessels, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes has a lot of negative effects on eye health.
Other natural ways to improve eyesight.
Besides your diet, there are other ways you can use to keep your eyes healthy and they are;
Sunglasses can help protect the eyes against the sun’s ultraviolet rays which would have increased the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Wearing sunglasses can also help keep foreign matter such as dirt, smoke, and others that can pose a threat to your eyes.
If you are in an environment that has got materials that can easily enter your eyes, wearing sunglasses can save your eyes.
Choosing a pair that blocks 99% of UV rays and has wraparound lenses to protect your eyes from the side.
Smoking hydrates the body, damages the optic nerve, and increases macular degeneration. It can also increase the risk of cataracts among other medical problems.
Briefly, smoking doses your eyes no good. Therefore, kicking the habit of smoking can help you keep the eyes healthy.
Limit screen time.
Computer screens, phones, and TVs can cause damage to your eyes if used for too long. Limit your time on computer screens and always take breaks from the screen. You can choose to wear glasses that can protect your eyes from the strong blue light from screens. Blink more often to prevent your eyes from drying out.
A regular eye examination can help protect eyesight and treat eye diseases before they make a great impact on the eyes.
For diseases like glaucoma that show no symptoms, a visit to the doctor can help spot them and treat them.
Wash your hands before applying contacts.
If you happen to use contacts, always wash your hands with soap as dirty hands can expose the eyes to a lot of bacteria that can causes diseases and other conditions.
The bottom line.
Eye health is important and choosing the right foods can help save as well as improve the eyes. Although these foods can promote eye health if you are experiencing eye problems it is of best decision to visit the doctor. The doctor will then give you the treatment and use these foods as supplements.