A Healthy Diet and Eyes are Linked
We all know the core benefits of a healthy diet, maintaining an ideal weight, vitality, the prevention of chronic disease and better quality of life. But have you considered how the food you put in your mouth affects your vision, in other words how your diet and eyes are linked?
There is so much information out there about healthy living, diet and superfoods, but it’s not often we hear about the ways our food choices affect one of our most precious senses.
Want to keep your eyesight sharp and healthy? Here’s how…
Vision and metabolic health
There is a direct connection between your eyesight and your body’s metabolic function.
Many studies have shown the link between the typical ‘Western diet’ (ie. higher intakes of red and processed meat, high-fat dairy products, refined grains and carbs, white potatoes and high-sugar drinks, a whole host of eye conditions, including cataracts, diabetic eye disease, dry eye problems, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
A healthy, well-balanced diet, on the other hand, has been shown to assist in maintaining eye health by protecting the cells, reducing the number of free radicals, supporting blood vessel function and the production of protective pigments.
Eating for the eyes
So what can you do? You could be forgiven for thinking immediately of carrots when considering foods that promote healthy eyes. However, they’re not the only thing on the menu that will help you maintain your vision.
Just include these types of foods in your diet to help maintain bright, healthy eyes:
- Zinc. Red meat, seafood – especially oysters, tofu, eggs and wheat germ.
- Vitamin C rich foods. Citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, and strawberries.
- Vitamin E rich foods. Peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, olives and spinach. And you don’t need much! Just a handful of almonds will give you half your recommended daily dose.
- Phytonutrients or anti-oxidants found in plant-based foods. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are a well-known part of this group. You will find plenty in green beans, peas, eggs and leafy greens like kale and spinach
- Omega-3 fatty acids. An ‘essential fatty acid’ commonly found in salmon, tuna, sardines, as well as flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.
- Vitamin A-rich foods. Carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens and dried apricots.
To protect your vision as you get older, choose foods that are rich in micronutrients, low in refined carbs, and remember to schedule regular check-ups with your eye health professional.