Mom Was Right When Said Eating Carrots is Good for Your Eyes

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 7-Feb-2013

CarrotsYour mother always told you that eating your carrots is good for your eyes. While that may have been her attempt at getting you to eat your veggies as a child, she wasn’t entirely off base. Eating carrots (and other vegetables) is important for your eye health. Nutrients found in fresh produce and even some nuts can help prevent eye conditions such as macular degeneration, dry eyes and infection and may even prevent problems with night vision.

Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc and vitamins C and E can help prevent age-related vision problems, including cataracts and macular degeneration. A well-balanced diet also helps you manage weight gain and thus lowers your risk of developing type-2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Diabetes can increase risk of glaucoma and cataracts and an estimated 45 percent of diabetics will develop diabetic retinopathy, which can damage vision. (Source: WebMD)

To help keep your eyes healthy, regularly eat foods containing these nutrients:

  • Vitamin A - A lack of vitamin A can cause night vision problems, dry eyes and even leads to some eye infections, cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin A is found in colorful fruits and vegetables as well as beef, chicken liver, cod liver oil, milk and eggs.
  • Carotenoids - The yellow, orange and red pigments found in many fruits and vegetables are carotenoids. Lutein and zeaxathin are two types of carotenoids that are important to your eye health as they help protect your retina from damage by the sun’s rays. Focus on eating colorful fruits and vegetables and green vegetables like dark, leafy greens such as kale and spinach.
  • Vitamin C - Like vitamin A, vitamin C may reduce your risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration. Vitamin C is found in oranges, orange juice, red and green bell peppers, grapefruit, strawberries, broccoli and kale.
  • Vitamin E - Vitamin E is also thought to reduce risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration of the eye. It is also a powerful antioxidant that and is found in almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter, spinach, avocados, olive oil and whole grains.

Here’s the short list of foods you should eat to ensure your eyes stay healthy:

  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Salmon, tuna (and other oily fish)
  • Non-meat protein sources such as eggs, nuts and beans
  • Citrus fruits

In addition to eating healthy, if you are a smoker, considering kicking your tobacco habit. Smoking is linked to cataracts, optic nerve damage and macular degeneration. All of these conditions can cause full or partial vision loss.

Not all eye conditions are preventable, but many are. Don’t neglect your eyes when it comes to caring for your overall health. When planning your diet, consider how what you eat affects your entire body, including your eyes.

Categories: Eye Health
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