7 Foods That May Improve Your Eyesight
From eggs to oranges, these surprising foods may help protect your vision.
Can you improve your eyesight naturally?
Two of the leading causes of blindness are age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, and they strike more than 25 million people worldwide, reports the American Optometric Association (AOA). However, a robust body of evidence suggests that making some small tweaks to your diet may help stave off vision loss and preserve sight—plus they’re tasty and good for other parts of your body as well.
Rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants and vitamins, kale is also a good source of beta-carotene and is the top combo of vision-friendly lutein and zeaxanthin; one cup of greens contains 23.8 mg of these eye-friendly nutrients, according to the AOA. “Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, collards and spinach are rich in lutein,” says Lylas G Mogk, MD, ophthalmologist and medical director of Henry Ford Visual Rehabilitation Centers in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Bonus: Green leafy vegetables like kale are also rich in nitrates, a precursor for circulation-enhancing nitric oxide. A study out of the University of California–San Francisco found that people who consumed the greatest amount of nitrates were less likely to develop primary open-angle glaucoma. (The study appears in JAMA Ophthalmology.) Glaucoma is the umbrella name for a group of diseases that leads to progressive damage to the optic nerve. Reduce your risk by using kale in a salad or side dish, blending it into fruit smoothies, or baking the leaves into kale chips.
One cup of nutrient-dense spinach packs a healthy 20.4 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin; you can add spinach to sandwiches and wraps, use it as a salad starter, or blend it into green smoothies. (Note: Cooking the greens helps your body better absorb lutein.)
This fibre-rich veggie is high in vitamin C, and also contains eye-boosting beta-carotene, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin. Experts at the AOA explain that vitamin C reduces the risk for cataracts and slows the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Add cooked broccoli to omelettes and frittatas, or blend it in soups.
Pumpkins aren’t just good for Halloween decorations, they’re good for your vision too. This winter squash is rich in vision-boosting vitamins A, C and E, zinc, fibre, lutein, and zeaxanthin, the AOA reports. Roast it until the edges brown.
One of the healthiest ways to start your day, protein-packed eggs are also providing as lutein, vitamin E, omega 3s and zinc, in addition to other nutrients and vitamins. Certain eggs are even better for you: England’s Best eggs, for example, have 38 percent more lutein than regular eggs, and more than double the omega-3s in regular eggs. Omega-3 fatty acids may help protect against AMD and dry eye, according to the AOA. Eggs are also a great source of zinc, and the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) showed that taking 40-80 mg/day of zinc, along with other antioxidants may slow the progression of advanced macular degeneration by about 25 percent and visual acuity loss by 19 percent among people at high risk for this blinding condition.
Oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers, and tomatoes are chock full of vitamin C, which may help improve the health of your eye tissue, the AOA states. Adults who regularly drink orange juice and included C-rich foods in their diet are about 33 percent less likely to develop cataracts over a 10- year period, according to a study in Ophthalmology.
Next, learn the silent signs you might have eye cataracts.