The Best (and Worst) Foods for Eye Health, According to an Eye Care Professional
Want to keep your eyes in great shape for years to come? These foods will help you see a clear future.
There is so much to love about summertime. Long, slow warm-weather days mean more time for what really matters: spending our every hour outside with family and friends. But all that time under the sun’s rays are harmful to our skin, yes, but did you know your eyes take a major hit from UV exposure also?
Encouraging consumers to take control of their eye health in a holistic way is what inspired Cecile Thai to start her company, Aveo Vision. “I want consumers to be aware of the little things they can do to ensure the long-term health of their eyes. It all started from my own personal experience with bad eye care habits that threatened my vision,” Thai says. Food is—quite literally—what fuels our bodies, and a great starting point in preventative long-term eye care.
So in the spirit of preserving the heath of your pupils, retinas, irises, and more—particularly now that the surly summer sunshine is blazing—Thai recommends you stock your fridge and pantry with these eye-friendly foods. And don’t forget to wear sunglasses!
Best Foods for Eye Health
Fish is extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are great for the health of your gut and body tissue. Some recent studies have actually found that fish oil can reduce symptoms of dry eyes, which is very common for those of us who spend way too much time in front of the computer.
Beef is rich in zinc and studies have shown that healthy amounts of this element in our diet is linked to long-term eye health. Additionally, zinc can help delay age-related sight loss and macular degeneration.
Nuts are another superfood that is high in omega-3 fatty acids but also have a high level of vitamin E, which is known to protect against age-related damage to the eyes.
As we all know, citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and just like vitamin E, vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights age-related eye degeneration. Not only are antioxidants great for your eyes, but they fight aging in the rest of the body, as well!
Carrots and Sweet Potatoes
Both of these superfoods are high in beta carotene and vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a key role in vision health and activates a key protein called rhodopsin, which assists the retina with the absorption of light.
Worst Foods for Eye Health
Sugary Sauces & Dressings
Store bought sauces and salad dressings typically contain quite a bit of sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which is detrimental to long-term eye health—over time, exposure to heavy doses of sugar can lead to macular degeneration.
Deep-fried foods should be consumed in moderation not only to protect your eyes but to ensure the long-term health of your entire body. Fries, onion rings, wings, and more are high in saturated fats that can lead to a slow decline in your vision. Fat isn’t the enemy, though: certain types are perfectly healthy for your eyes, like those high in omega-3 fatty acids (think salmon, avocado, and walnuts).
As with the sauces above, drinks high in both natural sugar and artificial sweeteners (like juices and soda) have a negative impact on eye health. At the end of the day, we should all be drinking more water, rather than juice—keeping our entire body hydrated is a key component for overall health.
Source: American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
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