As you prepare for the coming of spring, take a moment to think about your eyesight. Preserving your vision takes more than just wearing sunglasses and sunscreen every day. Good eye health actually begins with your diet. Essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent degenerative eye diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma.
With all the supplements that fill the aisles of grocery and health food stores, you may think that the way to protect your vision is to fill your cart with bottles of vitamins. However, the best way to get essential nutrients is through our diet. Vitamins and supplements often have poor absorption and are much less effective than getting nutrients in their original form—from food (Source: NY.gov).
Spring is the time that we associate with making changes. Most of us spend some time spring cleaning each year de-cluttering and organizing. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be isolated to your closets, though. Maybe it’s time to spring clean your fridge and add some healthy choices. Here are some foods that help keep your eyes strong:
Spinach and kale are full of lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants) and can help protect damage from air pollution, cigarette smoke and sunlight. Collard greens, broccoli, kiwi and grapes are good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin too.
Grapefruit, strawberries and Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C nourishes your vision, and you can indulge in this antioxidant as much as you like. Papaya, oranges and green peppers are very good sources of vitamin C as well.
Seeds, nuts and wheat germ are excellent sources of vitamin E, which keeps tissues strong. Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts or wheat germ oil can give a healthy dose of vitamin E.
Carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato are loaded with beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A and prevents night blindness. Try winter squash, red pepper and kale for the same nutrients but new flavor.
Turkey, oysters and crab are high in zinc, which strengthens the retina. Zinc can also be obtained through peanuts, meats, eggs and whole grains.
Fish like salmon, sardines and herring are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids to prevent inflammation. Two servings of cold-water fish per week is a worthy goal, so mix it up with tuna, flounder and halibut.