As you age, your eyesight becomes an even more critical component to the state of your overall health. You shouldn't wait until you start showing signs of problems to begin caring for your eye health, but rather continuously take care of it. Aside from medications and supplements, certain foods can provide benefits for your eye health. In addition to carrots, there are many other foods that can provide you with great nutritional support and vitamins to help encourage better eye health. Let's take a look at some significant ones.
1. Food: Bilberry
In a family similar to blueberries and cranberries, bilberries are packed with antioxidants and chemical components that can provide many benefits for various aspects of your health, including vision. Anthocyanins are a type of antioxidant that exhibit protective properties against free radicals. In addition, the University of Maryland Medical Center states that the anthocyanins may also be able to provide positive effects for fighting eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, though there is still insufficient evidence.
2. Food: Turkey
Essential for maintaining many aspects of your health—including your immune system, reproductive function and overall growth and development—turkey is a good source of this mineral. In one three-ounce serving of dark turkey meat, there are about 3 mg of zinc. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University also states that zinc may be able to benefit age-related macular degeneration, as the amount of this mineral in the retina lowers as you get older. However, Prevention magazine stresses the importance of staying only within the normal, recommended range of zinc consumption, as too much zinc can do the opposite and damage eyes.
3. Food: Eggs
Nutrients: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Omega-3s
Eggs are another food source that can provide positive effects for your health, especially when it comes to supplying plenty of valuable nutrients for your eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids which provide pigment to egg yolks, and they are also found in many other fruits and vegetables. Julie Mares, a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Madison told the Chicago Tribune that these carotenoids may be able to benefit the vision of younger people by helping to absorb blue light which can damage the back of the eye. Additionally, lutein and zeaxanthin may help improve your ability to see contrast, in low light and in glare conditions. Omega-3s are also found in eggs and they are beneficial for promoting anti-inflammatory effects, which may positively impact your eye health.
4. Food: Bell Peppers
Nutrients: Vitamin C
According to the American Optometric Association, vitamin C may be able to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and possibly help maintain sharp and clear vision. Bell peppers are a great source of this vitamin. In addition to possibly preventing cataracts and decline of visual acuity, vitamin C can help promote healthy blood vessels in the eyes and might even slow macular degeneration.
5. Food: Baked Sweet Potato
Nutrients: Beta Carotene
Besides carrots, which are perhaps the most well-known source of this nutrient, baked sweet potatoes are also a great way to get a good helping of beta carotene. As another form of pigment, beta carotene might be able to help fight vision loss in those with age-related macular degeneration when used in conjunction with other vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Though these foods contain plenty of nutrients that may be able to enhance your eye health, you should not consume them in excess (as with all foods) or rely on them as the sole method of eye support. If you have an eye condition, you should always visit a doctor. If you have high cholesterol, you should avoid consuming too many eggs.
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