Preventing & Slowing Eye Damage: Top 9 Superfoods for Super Eyesight
6 minute read
It’s no surprise that things start to change as we get older, especially eyesight. Natural deterioration, as well as too much screen time, causes vision to weaken over time.
The good news is that even though some deterioration is inevitable, there are a number of superfoods that can delay and even prevent certain eye problems.
Your eyesight naturally begins to decline with age, but our overuse of technology and the exposure to blue light can speed up the degeneration process. While you cannot stop the eye aging process, you can certainly boost eye health and eat foods that provide valuable nutrients.
With the right diet, you can ensure that your eyes stay strong and healthy as you age. The most common age-related eye conditions include:
♦ Glaucoma: a disease caused by damaged nerves that can cause blindness if not treated
♦ Macular degeneration: a disease that can lead to vision loss if not treated
♦ Cataracts: the clouding of your eye lens
♦ Presbyopia: a condition that affects your ability to focus
The Best Foods for Eye Health
The high omega-3 content in tuna (as well as other fresh fish) helps to protect your eyes from oxidative damage. Macular degeneration impacts many as they age, but studies have found that eating tuna can reduce the risk for this disease.
Macular degeneration can result in blindness, but aiming to eat between two and three servings of fish can prevent this from becoming a reality for you.
These delicious berries are full of anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants can protect your eyes from free radical damage that leads to disease. Anthocyanins have the ability to cross the blood-retina barrier easily, so they’re naturally more effective at protecting your eye health.
Studies have also found that the compounds in blueberries can improve vision in those with normal-tension glaucoma, a disease that damages your optic nerve. Anthocyanins protect the retina from sun damage, a result of spending too much time in the sun
This leafy green contains two antioxidants known to promote eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are both stored naturally in your eye’s macula. This part of the eye protects it from damaging rays of light.
Eating spinach regularly ensures that your eyes store enough of these antioxidants to stay protected. Lutein is especially important with today’s obsession with computers, as it helps to filter the blue light from screens.
Both antioxidants also help to improve blood flow to your eyes, which promotes health and function. Remember to add a little olive oil to your spinach: Since lutein and zeaxanthin are fat soluble, this will ensure you get maximum absorption.
Eggs contain the same powerful antioxidants as spinach but with one additional benefit. Unlike spinach, they have high-fat content, which makes the antioxidants easier to absorb and more effective. Eggs are also high in eye-protecting vitamin D.
As one of the best food sources for the mineral zinc, oysters are great for your eyes. Zinc is essential for the production of melanin, which is an important pigment that protects your eyes. People with zinc deficiencies have been known to develop night blindness and cataracts.
When consumed in high doses, zinc also helps to prevent macular degeneration or slow the progression of the disease for those who already have it.
The antioxidant powers of vitamin C are known to boost your immune system, and now they can protect your eyes too. The high vitamin C content in oranges prevents free radical damage, which contributes to macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. Vitamin C also helps to build collagen, which provides structure for your cornea.
Strawberries are another fruit high in vitamin C, so give your eyes the ultimate boost with a breakfast smoothie made from both delicious fruits.
There seems to be some truth to the old joke about never seeing a rabbit wearing glasses. Carrots are one of the best foods for your eyes. As a rich source of the antioxidant beta carotene, carrots help protect your eyes from free radical damage.
Your body also converts this antioxidant into vitamin A, which is essential for optimal vision.
Without vitamin A, your body cannot produce the rod and cone cells necessary for seeing colors and low light conditions.
| Related: 8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency |
8. Sunflower Seeds
These seeds aren’t just for enjoying at the ball game. Sunflower seeds contain high amounts of vitamin E, which is known to reduce your risk for cataracts. As an antioxidant, vitamin E also helps to protect your eyes from oxidative damage and aging.
Nuts like almonds, as well as other seeds, also contain vitamin E.
9. Dark Chocolate
Not only does it taste good, but eating dark chocolate each day can help protect your eyes. The powerful flavonoids found in dark chocolate are known to improve vision in those with glaucoma. It has also been found to reduce your risk for macular degeneration.
It may be better for you than other sweet treats, but remember to eat dark chocolate in moderation. As with any food containing sugar, too much can increase your risk for other health problems.
The Bottom Line
With smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions everywhere we look these days, our eyes are constantly exposed to damaging lights. When you combine this with an unhealthy diet, it’s no surprise that eye health deteriorates as we get older.
By adding a few key foods to your diet, you can now help ensure your eyes stay healthy and fight common degenerative conditions. Don’t miss out on seeing the world, and start eating these top superfoods today.