How (and What) to Eat for Eye Health

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons; Per Jensen

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons; Per Jensen

Did you know that the same micronutrients that you chow for heart and blood benefits can also assist in the health of other important parts of the body that you rely on daily? Today, we’re talking about your eyes.

The Connection Between Nutrition and Your Eyes

Vitamins and minerals play an important role in keeping your body healthy and functioning – from immune system and muscle function, to heart and blood health. In addition, studies detailed through the American Optometric Association (AOA) have linked nutritional deficiencies to symptoms in diseases such as:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
    AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. Symptoms include gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly; Objects appear distorted in shape. Straight lines look wavy or crooked; Loss of clear color vision; A dark or empty area appears in the center of vision. According to AOA,“There is no cure for dry AMD, and any loss in central vision cannot be restored. However, doctors now believe there is a link between nutrition and the progression of dry AMD, which the more common form of AMD.”
  • Cataracts
    A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending upon its size and location, it can interfere with normal vision. Most cataracts develop in people over age 55, but they occasionally occur in infants and young children.
  • Dry Eye
    Dry eye is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults.

Oh, Eye see

According to the AOA, the following nutrients – eaten or supplemented – can help fight against common eye diseases and conditions like those listed above, and promote healthy, functioning eyes:

Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Can be found in green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, turnip greens & collard greens, as well as eggs, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage

Vitamin C
Can be found in bell peppers, guavas, dark and leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower .

Vitamin E
Can be found in nuts and seeds, olives, apricots, red peppers, flaxseed oil, and leafy greens, like chard, mustard and & turnip.

Essential Fatty Acids
Can be found in grass-fed butter, fish, shellfish, flaxseed, leafy vegetables, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and chia seeds. WellnessFX has a testing panel specifically for these omegas.

Zinc
Can be found in beef and lamb, spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, pork, chicken. Zinc also impacts your thyroid – read “Munch to Manage Thyroid Health” for more info.

What could a day of including these foods look like?

Make it

Hide it

  • Toss 1-2 handfuls of spinach or kale into your morning smoothie
  • Blend spinach into your scrambled egg mix – green eggs for the win!
  • Add diced red bell peppers to chicken/salmon salad or even meatball mixes
  • Scrambled eggs cooked in grass-fed butter
  • Add walnuts and sliced strawberries to a salad

Snack it

If you’re caught up on eye health, you can read more about micronutrients and their many other benefits by checking out 7 Important Minerals and the Signs that You Could Be Deficient, and 4 Vitamins & the Important Signs that You Could Be Deficient.

 

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.