We already know that our bodies need whole, hearty foods to function at their best. And this is also true when it comes to specific parts of the body. Case in point: your eyes.
If you can fit more of the best foods for eye health on your plate, you’re giving your peepers what they need. In other words, if you want to increase your chances of seeing clearly for life, you need to choose foods that are good for eye health. So what are they? Let’s find out.
The best foods for healthy eyes
Whether you have a family history of vision problems or are trying to combat eye strain on a daily basis, here are 12 foods to boost eye health.
A study promoted by the American Optometric Association found that indole-3-carbinol, a compound found in broccoli, can help flush toxins from your retina. This lowers your risk of age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of vision loss in older people. Broccoli also contains lutein and zeaxanthin which also protect your eyes. Note, however, that this study claims that one would have to eat an unreasonable amount of broccoli to really protect against AMD.
Keeping your eyes healthy means keeping them sufficiently hydrated. Some of the best foods for healthy eyes can be very helpful. Salmon, for example, contains omega-3 fatty acids. This helps reduce the risk of dry eye, an uncomfortable condition that is becoming more common with age.
If you’re a woman, it’s more important to eat salmon and other foods with omega-3s that are good for eye health. People assigned female at birth are twice as likely to develop dry eyes.
You’ve probably heard it before: carrots are one of the best foods for eye health. For starters, they contain tons of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that your body uses to make vitamin A. Vitamin A helps you see at night and defends you against nearsightedness (i.e. nearsightedness ). If you’re looking for a way to avoid needing vision correction — or to save your current prescription for your contact lenses or glasses for as long as possible — grab Bugs Bunny’s must-have snack.
Additionally, carrots also contain lutein, another antioxidant. This can help reduce your risk of AMD.
Yes, you need to protect your eyes from the sun. But don’t let the name fool you; no protection is needed here. Sunflower seeds are one of the best foods for vision. They contain a lot of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects our eyes from oxidative stress. Vitamin E also helps fight the sun’s harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of cataracts.
One important thing to note here: Although your body can synthesize certain vitamins, you must obtain vitamin E from food sources or supplements.
Looking for another way to combat potential sun damage? Turn to the kiwi. This fuzzy fruit is on our list of top foods for healthy eyes because it contains lutein, the AMD-fighting antioxidant I mentioned earlier, as well as zeaxanthin, which helps your eyes filter out light. .
While many other eye-healthy foods might not come as a surprise, this one might look like a curveball. Still, it’s worth the hassle. Not only do oysters contain omega-3 fatty acids, but they are also high in zinc. This gives you another powerful nutrient if you’re trying to fight AMD.
Take a page from Popeye’s book and eat your spinach. As an excellent source of complete nutrients, this green leaf is also one of the best foods for healthy eyes. It’s high in lutein, which, as I’ve pointed out before, is key to eye health. And spinach also contains zeaxanthin.
To help your body better absorb these antioxidants, you need to eat them with fat. A small spinach salad drizzled with olive oil — which also contains omega-9s and a small amount of omega-3s — makes it easy to incorporate the best foods for vision into any meal.
Eggs provide just about everything your eyes need, from lutein and zeaxanthin to zinc and vitamin A. In fact, a 2019 study concluded that regularly eating a moderate amount of eggs (about two to four eggs a week) greatly reduces your risk of developing AMD. If you want to eat eye-healthy foods, eggs can make it easier for you.
Almonds and other nuts contain high levels of vitamin E, the antioxidant that fights AMD and cataracts. Again, your body cannot make this vitamin on its own.
Plus, it’s one of the best foods for boosting eye health if you’re trying to avoid cooking preparations. If you don’t want to turn on the stove or grab a cutting board, you can grab a handful of almonds and walk away.
Dairy products contain both vitamin A and zinc, two nutrients that I have already highlighted as essential for eye health. But if you really want to choose the best foods for vision, go for the cultured variety when making your dairy selection. For what? Because yogurt contains probiotics. And studies increasingly show that these good bacteria could help with everything from allergic conjunctivitis to dry eyes.
I have already talked about beta-carotene, its role in vitamin A and the importance of vitamin A for your eyes. But what I didn’t tell you is that it’s usually pretty easy to get foods that contain beta-carotene for one important reason: this antioxidant turns them orange. So you better believe that oranges contain a good amount of this nutrient, earning them a spot on this list of the best foods for improving vision.
Plus, as you probably already know, oranges are high in vitamin C. And that can help your body fight AMD, cataracts, and vision loss in general.
Oranges are highly hyped for their vitamin C content, but strawberries actually contain more. And since vitamin C provides a double boost to prevent overall vision loss, cataracts and AMD, these berries deserve to complete our list of best foods for eye health.