Foods for Healthy Eyes
by Nancy Hearn, CNC

leafy green vegetablesDark green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin

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The most important foods for healthy eyes are those which are rich in vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin C and vitamin E, according to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability. 

All three play an important role in preventing macular degeneration and cataract formation.

Other key foods for healthy eyes include those foods which are high in zinc, selenium, lutein and zeaxanthin.

In general, eating six to 10 daily servings of multicolored fresh fruits and vegetables will provide optimal nutrition for strong eyes.  Like all other parts of the body, the eyes need specific nutrients to be healthy and strong.


Water Is Important

In addition, even though water is not typically considered a food, it is the single most important nutrient for healthy eyes.  

The inside of the eye between the lens and the retina is filled by the vitreous body. It is transparent and consists of 98 percent water, and 2 percent sodium hyaluronate and collagen fibers

Drink at least six to eight glasses of filtered water a day and minimize sodas, coffee and tea, which are dehydrating.


Vitamin A-Rich Foods

Good sources of vitamin A (beta carotene) include carrots and carrot juice, sweet potatoes, squash, and orange juice, cantaloupe, mangoes, melons, apricots, kale, spinach, red bell peppers, Brussels sprouts and cod liver oil.


Vitamin C-Rich Foods

Some of the best sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits and juices, papaya, acerola cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, goji berries, kiwis, broccoli, green and red bell peppers, cauliflower and kale.


Vitamin E-Rich Foods

Wheat germ is one of the richest food sources of vitamin E. You can sprinkle ground wheat germ on cereal or other foods for supplementation.

Other good sources of vitamin E include almonds and almond butter, peanuts and peanut butter, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, avocados and eggs.


Lutein- and Zeaxanthin-Rich Foods

Dark green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress and turnip greens are especially rich in these nutrients. Other good sources include romaine lettuce, zucchini, corn, green peas, carrots, and brussels sprouts.


Zinc- and Selenium-Rich Foods

Foods rich in zinc and selenium are important because zinc helps your body absorb vitamin A and selenium helps your body absorb vitamin E. 

Oysters are one of the best foods for heathy eyes because it is rich in both zinc and selenium. Other good sources of these nutrients include other seafood, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, yeast, and chickpeas.


References

NCHPAD.org; Foods for Good Eyes

MedicalNewsToday.com; 10 Best Foods for Eye Health; 2018.



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