Whether you are taking part in Veganuary, or have decided that 2019 is your year to get fit and healthy, there are several key nutrients you can include in your diet that are important for your eye health. These nutrients help maintain your eye function, protect your eyes against harmful light and can help to reduce the development of age-related degenerative diseases.
What are the key nutrients?
The key nutrients that can help to protect and preserve your eye health are:
2&3. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
4.Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Many of these nutrients can be found in the foods that we eat every day, but can also be added by taking additional supplements.
Which foods contain the nutrients that we need?
Eggs and Lutein
Egg yolks are an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are carotenoids that help protect the eyes from oxidative stress and help to reduce the risk of age related concerns, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts. Carotenoids are absorbed more efficiently when consumed with fat, which makes eggs yolks an ideal source due to their fat content and one of the best foods for eye health.
Dark, Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, broccoli and other dark greens have endless health benefits. These foods help protect your eyes due to their high vitamin c and beta-carotene content. Dark green food also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, added together all of these nutrients create a protective antioxidant for your eyes, helping to shield them from harmful UV rays.
Orange Coloured Fruit and Vegetables
The pigments in orange coloured fruits and veg come from beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A. Vitamin A is critical for your vision as it helps to protect your eyes, guard against age related eye issues and supports the functioning of the cornea. Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, mango, peppers and apricots are all sources of vitamin A.
There are two important omega-3 fatty acids that can be found in fatty fish, these are EPA and DHA. Studies have shown that people who have diets high in omega-3 have fewer age-related eye macular issues. This was based on eating at least 2 servings of fish per week high in omega-3 such as salmon, tuna, halibut, herring and other oily fish.
Citrus and Berries
Citrus fruits and berries are high in vitamin C, which is one of the best vitamins for eye health. They are also a good source of citrus bioflavonoids and antioxidants. Antioxidants play a key role in slowing the progression of age-related eye concerns, and a high intake of vitamin C can help lower the risks of developing some eye diseases.
This list of foods is not exhaustive, there are plenty more fruits, vegetables and spices that you can include in your diet that contain these key nutrients. Ensuring that you are eating correctly, exercising regularly and wearing UVA/UVB protective sunglasses are important to supporting your eye health along with having regular eye examinations.