Foods for Eye Health – Do you often find yourself in front of a computer monitor or staring at your smartphone for extended periods? Be cautious! This can negatively impact your eyesight. Frequent exposure to radiation, especially from electronic devices, can lead to dry eyes and discomfort.
Foods for Healthy Eyes
If you experience these symptoms, it’s essential to address them with foods and fruits that promote eye health. Here are 15 foods and fruits you can incorporate into your daily diet, whether at home or work, to optimize your eye health:
- Oranges: Oranges are rich in vitamin C, a key nutrient for eye health. This vitamin, found in fruits and fresh vegetables, is beneficial for maintaining healthy blood vessels in the eyes. Additionally, vitamin C may help combat cataract development when combined with other nutrients, potentially reducing age-related vision degradation.
- Dragon Fruit: Dragon fruit, with its unique shape and vibrant pink skin, is a member of the cactus family known for its bright red or white flesh. It contains a significant amount of vitamin C, contributing to the health and protection of the cornea of the eye.
- Soursop (Graviola): Soursop, known for its sweet taste and smooth texture, contains not only vitamins C and B but also potassium. Research suggests that a potassium-rich diet may help reduce excess fluid retention under the skin, which can lead to puffy eyes.
- Mangosteen: Like oranges, the flesh of mangosteen can be separated into sections. Its nutritional profile includes B vitamins, particularly B complex vitamins. Recent studies indicate that these nutrients may reduce the negative effects of macular degeneration in women.
- Jackfruit: Jackfruit, with its spiky exterior, is rich in vitamin C. Some research has shown that a diet rich in vitamin C may reduce the negative effects of cataracts and vision loss due to macular degeneration.
- Red Bell Peppers: These vegetables offer a high amount of vitamin C per calorie. Vitamin C benefits the blood vessels in the eyes, and studies suggest it may reduce the risk of cataracts. To preserve the vitamin C content, it’s best to consume red bell peppers raw. They also contain vitamins A and E, which are good for the eyes.
- Sunflower Seeds: About one ounce of sunflower seeds or almonds provides half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E for adults, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A large study found that vitamin E, along with other nutrients, may slow down age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and help prevent cataracts. Other sources of vitamin E include hazelnuts, green peas, and peanut butter.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Vegetables like kale, spinach, and collard greens are rich in both vitamin C and E. These vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin, basic forms of vitamin A that reduce the long-term risks of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
- Salmon: The retina requires two types of omega-3 fatty acids to function correctly: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Both can be found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and trout (freshwater fish), as well as other seafood. Omega-3 fatty acids can protect the eyes from AMD and glaucoma. Low levels of these fatty acids have been linked to dry eyes.
- Sweet Potatoes: Brightly colored fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, melons, mangoes, and apricots have a higher content of beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that aids in night vision and the ability of your eyes to adapt to darkness. Sweet potatoes, in particular, provide over half of your daily vitamin C requirement and a small amount of vitamin E.
- Meats and Poultry: Zinc carries vitamin A from the liver to your retina, where it’s used to produce protective melanin pigments. Oysters are a great source of zinc, but you don’t have to consume shellfish to get enough. Beef and chicken are also good sources of eye-friendly zinc.
- Legumes: If you prefer a vegetarian, low-fat, high-fiber option to help maintain sharp night vision and slow down AMD, consider beans high in zinc. Black-eyed peas, kidney beans, and lentils are high in zinc. Eating a can of roasted beans is a good option.
- Eggs: Eggs are a great package deal: the zinc in eggs helps your body use lutein and zeaxanthin from the egg yolk. The yellow-orange color of these compounds blocks blue light that is risky for your retina. They help increase the amount of protective pigment in the macula, the central part of your eye.
- Pumpkin: Your body can’t make lutein and zeaxanthin, but you can get them from pumpkin. Summer squash contains vitamin C and zinc. Winter or butternut squash contains vitamins A and C, as well as omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for your eyes.
- Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts: These eye-healthy foods are packed with a combination of other favorite nutrients: vitamin A (such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene), vitamin C, and vitamin E. They are antioxidants that protect certain cells in the eyes from free radicals, such as those that can break down healthy tissues, especially the retina, which is highly vulnerable.
Here are some easy steps to maintain eye health and prevent various eye problems:
- Quit Smoking: Smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration, among other health issues. If you’ve tried quitting before, keep trying. The more you attempt to quit, the more likely you are to succeed. Seek support from loved ones or consult a doctor.
- Wear Sunglasses: Wearing properly fitting sunglasses helps protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) sunlight. Extended exposure to UV light can increase the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Make sure your sunglasses block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses also provide additional eye protection. Polarized lenses reduce glare while driving.
- Use Protective Eyewear: When working with hazardous materials or in environments with flying particles, wear safety glasses or protective eyewear. Sports such as ice hockey, badminton, or similar activities can also result in eye injuries, so use protective eyewear. Helmets with face shields or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses provide eye protection.
- Avoid Getting Too Close to Screens: Staring at a computer monitor or smartphone screen for extended periods, especially from a short distance, can lead to:
How to protect your eyes? Here are the steps:
- Regularly Visit an Eye Doctor: Everyone needs regular eye check-ups, including children. Regular eye exams help protect your vision and allow you to see well. Eye exams can detect diseases such as glaucoma that may have no symptoms. Early detection of such diseases