Originally published by EverydayHealth and reposted here with their permission.
You know the old joke about why rabbits don’t wear glasses? Well, it’s because they eat a lot of carrots! Carrots go hand-in-hand with eye health and if you read on, you’ll see why.
The foods we eat have a tremendous effect on the way our bodies function even when the benefits may not appear obvious. Unlike the well-publicized links between the foods we eat and medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes, the connection between nutrition and eye health often gets neglected…until a problem arises. Age-related macular degeneration, night blindness, and cataracts are three common medical conditions that may impact our eyes, particularly as we age.
But even though many eye-related health problems tend to creep up on us in later years, eating eye-healthy foods is essential throughout the life cycle. Here are some foods that will, literally, help you LOOK and feel better:
Green leafy vegetables and eggs are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients which have been shown to reduce risks of chronic eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin also act as antioxidants, which help protect healthy eye cells. For some of us, it’s difficult to fit in these foods every day and in that case, a supplement may be necessary to meet your needs for zeaxanthin and leutine.
Salmon is a potent source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation in our bodies, including our eyes. Fatty acids support retinal function while multitasking to promote heart health as well.
Carrots, as previously mentioned, are rich in beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. A deficiency in vitamin A is associated with night blindness.
Brussels sprouts and grapefruit are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radicals in our bodies. Vitamin C has also been shown to boost visual acuity and reduce risks of developing cataracts.
Nuts and seeds contain vitamin E, another antioxidant that keeps our healthy eye cells protected by fighting off damage from free radicals.
Shellfish and whole grains are powerful sources of zinc, which helps our body more efficiently use other nutrients (like vitamin A). Studies have shown that a lack of zinc in our diets can increase chances of developing cataracts and night blindness.
Consistently including these foods in your diet may help ward off eye disease, especially those that occur with age. For the ultimate eye-healthy meal, try a large salad made with dark leafy greens, shaved Brussels sprouts, carrots, mandarin oranges, sliced nuts and top with a piece of grilled salmon!
HumanaVitality is not an insurance product. This material is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor before making dietary changes or starting an exercise routine.
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