There are several factors that can contribute to poor eye health, and one
of those is your nutrition. Eating a healthy diet is a key component when
it comes to preventing many
eye conditions such as macular degeneration, dry eyes and night vision problems.
Is your diet good for your eyes?
Top five nutrients for your eyes
There are several nutrients that are essential for good eye health. The
“must-haves” for healthy eyes are:
Vitamin A: A diet rich in vitamin A can help prevent night vision problems, dry eyes,
cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin A is found in colorful fruits
and veggies. It is also found in beef, chicken liver, cod liver oil, milk
and eggs. Too much vitamin A can be harmful to your health, so be sure
you do not eat more than 2,800 micrograms of vitamin A each day.
Carotenoids: The yellow, orange and red pigments known as carotenoids are found in many
fruits and vegetables and are important for your overall health. When
it comes to your eyes, carotenoids can help protect the retina from damage
by the sun’s rays and help prevent macular degeneration. Lutein
and zeaxathin are two carotenoids that are particularly good for your
eyes. Carotenoids are also found in dark, leafy green vegetables including
romaine, kale and spinach. Broccoli, squash and bell peppers are also
excellent sources of carotenoids. The recommended daily amount of carotenoids
for adults is six to 10 mg.
Vitamin C: Like each of these nutrients, vitamin C is also important for your overall
health as it protects the heart, strengthens the immune system and can
prevent some cancers. It is an antioxidant that helps reduce risk of cataracts
and macular degeneration. Vitamin C is found in oranges, red and green
bell peppers, grapefruit, strawberries, broccoli and kale. Adults should
get at least 1,000 mg of vitamin C every day.
Vitamin E: Another antioxidant that can also help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Vitamin E is found in almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter, spinach, avocados,
olive oil and whole grains.
Zinc: An important antioxidant that helps the body absorb vitamin A and helps
reduce the number of free radicals in the body. It has also been shown
to protect against macular degeneration and night blindness. Food sources
of zinc include oysters and other seafood, beef, eggs, wheat germ, black-eyed
peas and tofu. Zinc should be consumed in moderation, as high doses can
result in adverse side effects. Do not consume more than 100 mg daily
without consulting with your doctor.
If you have questions about nutrition and eye health, contact your
eye doctor. Working with a registered dietician can also help ensure you are eating
the right foods to promote a healthy body and healthy eyes.