The eyes are the windows to the soul, so the saying goes. But they’re also a window into your overall health. Your sense of sight is linked to your overall quality of life and ability to go about your daily activities with ease. Problems with your vision can undermine your overall well-being, which is why it’s important to be proactive about your visual health. In addition to visiting your eye doctor in
Lorton, VA, for regular checkups, one of the best things you can do for your visual health is to incorporate eye-friendly food into your diet.
In this article, Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist suggests the best foods to eat for good eyesight.
The rumors are true! Carrots have long held a reputation as the top food to eat for better eyesight, and this reputation is well deserved. Eating carrots really does promote better eye health and proper eye functioning. This is because carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a source of vitamin A that contains retinol, retinal and retinoic acid—all the good stuff essential for healthy vision. However, you might want to watch your serving portions. Eating too many carrots can cause your skin to take on a yellow-orange tinge, particularly on the palms, soles, knees and nasal area.
Don’t worry, this is a harmless and often reversible condition known as carotenemia. If you notice your skin taking on an orange hue (not to be confused for a fake tan), just ease up on the carrot intake until the pigmentation recedes and your skin goes back to its normal shade.
Leafy greens are the ultimate health food. They promote overall wellness and can improve both physical and mental health. What makes leafy greens such a great vision booster is that they are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant duo that can help curb the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. Cook up some spinach, kale, collard greens and broccoli for your dose of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Not a fan of leafy greens? Spruce things up by trying different recipes. Steamed broccoli and melted cheese for a better eyesight? Yes please!
Eggs are a breakfast staple, but they can also be eaten at just about any time of the day (omelettes for brunch, anyone?). Eggs are a great source of lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in plants, where they absorb excess light energy and blue light rays from sunlight. Lutein (considered as a yellow pigment) and zeaxanthin are also found in the macula. These two types of carotenoids serve important antioxidant functions, namely to guard the body against the damage brought on by free radicals.
Fish and Other Seafood
Pescatarians and seafood lovers, rejoice! Fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are prime sources of omega-3 fatty acids,which are nutrients that can help manage or even prevent dry eyes. Anchovies and trout are also excellent sources of DHA, which can also prevent the development of dry eye syndrome. Food supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids are also an option for those who don’t like seafood. You can also consult your optometrist in Lorton, VA, regarding other food sources of omega-3 fatty acids if fish and seafood aren’t readily available in your area.
Here are some of the best-tasting seafood recipes you might want to try:
Baked garlic butter salmon
Pan-fried trout seasoned with garlic, lemon and parsley
Roasted mackerel with paprika
Not only are nuts considered the perfect snack-worthy brainfood, they are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which boost visual health. Nuts also contain lutein and zeaxanthin. Grab a handful of pistachios, walnuts, almonds or cashews whenever you feel like snacking to keep your brain working and your eyesight in good condition. Nuts can also be incorporated into other types of food. They make great salad toppings, protein shake ingredients and can even be used to decorate cakes and other desserts.
Whole grains have all the parts of a seed (namely bran, germ and endosperm) intact. They are consumed either as a single food such as brown rice and popcorn, or as an ingredient as in buckwheat for pancakes or whole-wheat flour for bread. Since whole grains contain all the parts of a seed, they are a great source of fiber, vitamin B, vitamin E, iron, folate, niacin, selenium, potassium and magnesium. All these nutrients are essential for a healthy diet and for good eyesight. Examples of whole grains include barley, brown rice, buckwheat, cracked wheat, millet, oatmeal, popcorn and whole wheat breads, pastas and crackers.
Note that you can eat a mostly whole grain diet. However, you might want to get a sufficient amount of folic acid elsewhere since whole grains are not usually enriched with folic acid. Whole grains are good visual health boosters because they contain a low glycemic index, which can help reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Fruits and Berries
Unless you’re allergic or have been explicitly told by your optometrist in Newington, VA, to cut back on certain types of produce, you can never go wrong with eating fruits. In fact, a serving of a variety of these delicious foods are recommended by doctors everywhere. Citrus fruits high in vitamin C, such as oranges, kiwi fruits, grapefruits, lemons and limes, can help lower your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Enjoy these as fresh fruit slices, smoothies, or as toppings on your breakfast cereal.
Blueberries are also packed with antioxidants and can help reduce your risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma. You can eat blueberries on their own. You can even add them to your oatmeal or yogurt to supercharge your snack.
Lentils, black-eyed peas, green peas and green beans contain substantial amounts of zinc. This nutrient enables vitamins to travel to the liver and the eyes, providing protection to the retina and thus boosting your eyesight. Here are some simple legume recipes you can try:
Chicken with pinto beans
Lima beans and spinach
Beef stew with lentils
Tomato salsa and sausage with green lentils
Spiced pork with black-eyed peas
Watching what you eat definitely takes on a new meaning when you start considering your diet as an integral part of your vision-boosting routine. Keep in mind that it’s not enough to eat healthy in order to maintain a healthy eyesight–you also need to visit your eye doctor for regular eye exams. However, consuming the foods listed here can greatly help in ensuring your eyes are getting the right kinds and amount of nutrients needed to keep them functioning optimally.
Don’t be afraid to try new recipes and dishes you wouldn’t normally eat. Remember that it’s better to have broadened your tastebuds’ horizons and improve your eyesight in the process than to regret not giving certain foods a chance.