How to Eat for Your Eyes!
Thursday, November 14, 2010

Eyeing the candy bowl again? You may be neglecting the vital nutrients necessary to keeping those eyes sharp! Our risk for eye problems (like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and more) increases as we age. Now, new research is revealing more and more information on how our dietary habits can be changed to help out our sight. Read on to learn which foods we should be seeing more of to help protect the health of our eyes in the future.

In general, a body supported by a healthy diet and regular exercise is less likely to experience future eye diseases. Our eyes have tiny blood vessels that we can help protect by monitoring our blood pressure - diets rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains can help keep blood pressure lower. Smoking, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, and being overweight may all contribute to increasing eye health risks. Think of your eyesight as an extra incentive to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

Omega-3s

Recent studies have shown that adults who ate a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in people over age 55). Fish and nuts are great sources of omega-3s. A handful of almonds or peanut butter on toast can make a great, satisfying afternoon snack. Don't like nuts or fish? Omega-3 supplements are also widely available - check for high levels of DHA and EPA.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

You're probably less familiar with these two carotenoids. Both are found in the retina of your eyes and they are also both recognized for their antioxidant capabilities. To get more in your diet, try eating spinach, kale, and collard greens which are extra-rich in lutein. Although we typically hear that orange carrots are good for our eyes, green fruits and vegetables are more likely to have high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. Leafy greens don't appeal to you? Try other green goodies like pistachios, avocados, or squash instead!