Anybody that values being able to watch a beautiful sunset, their children playing, or even a movie in the movie theatre, will want to keep their eyes healthy as they get older.
Having regular check-ups at an opticians is crucial if you want to catch and treat any eye condition before it has a chance to develop, but trying to prevent these conditions in the first place is just as important. Make sure your diet is full of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed for healthy eyes and you’ll have a much better chance of enjoying good vision into old age.
Studies have shown that getting the recommended daily allowance of zinc (11mg a day for men, 8mg a day for women) can reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the number one cause of blindness among the elderly in the developed world.
While oysters are particularly rich in zinc (six will provide over 75mg!) if you don’t fancy slurping down the aphrodisiac you can also find the mineral in red meat, pork and poultry. Vegetarians can make sure they’re getting their recommended daily dose by eating spinach, pumpkin seeds and wheat germ.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
While pronouncing these two antioxidants may be a bit tricky (it’s LOO-teen and zee-ah-ZAN-thin by the way), it’s easy enough to incorporate them into your diet – just eat plenty of leafy greens such as kale, spinach and broccoli. These antioxidants act as a barrier to harmful excessive flight, known as blue light, helping to reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found in certain fish such as salmon and sardines, as well as walnuts, soybeans and cauliflower, omega-3 fatty acids are great for combatting rheumatoid arthritis, depression, blood pressure and brain health.
They’re also vital for eye health, as they help lower the chance of developing macular degeneration and glaucoma. If you’re a contact lens wearer that suffers from dry-eye syndrome, you might also find that omega-3 fats help alleviate your condition.
Some studies have shown that getting enough vitamin E can help prevent you developing cataracts, while it can also lower the risk of AMD. Sunflower seeds are particularly rich in vitamin E as are almonds and spinach (seriously, spinach is just an incredible food for eye health).
Citrus fruits, kiwi fruits, papays and strawberries are just some of the fruits that provide a good source of vitamin C. Fans of spicy food are also in luck – both red and green chili peppers can give you a big vitamin C boost. While the vitamin can reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration it’s also an important vitamin if you suffer from glaucoma, as it can alleviate the symptoms.
And what about carrots?
Millions of children have been told that eating carrots will help them see in the dark. But were they being told the truth, or were parents just coming up with creative ways to get their kids to eat vegetables?
Eating all the carrots in the world won’t turn your eyes into a personal pair of night vision goggles, but the vitamin A found in carrots (as well as sweet potatoes, butternut squash and pâté) is needed for the body to process rhodopsin, the pigment in your eye that allows you to see in low light conditions. People with a vitamin A deficiency may develop night blindness – so it’s definitely still worth eating your carrots.
Good for your eyes and your body
The great thing about these vitamins and minerals is that they’re not just good for healthy eyes – they’re good for keeping your whole body in tip-top shape. So what are you waiting for? Start adding these foods to your diet today and look forward to seeing a better tomorrow.