Diet and nutrition play an important role in the health of your eyes. According to the American Optometric Association, getting enough of specific nutrients can help protect vision and may even reduce risks for certain eye diseases.
Supplements offer a convenient way to increase your nutrient intake, but whole foods are typically a better source of absorbable vitamins and minerals. Fortunately, the nutrients best suited to protect visual health can all be found in a variety of delicious and healthy foods.
Where Can I Find Vision Saving Vitamins and Minerals?
- Vitamin A - found in carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and a variety of dark leafy greens, vitamin A may help prevent macular degeneration and serve as a treatment for various eye disorders
- Zinc - found in beans, nuts, whole grains, and some animal products, zinc is essential for using vitamin A from the liver for melanin production
- Vitamin C - found in citrus fruits, a variety of peppers, various leafy greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and berries, this powerful antioxidant helps prevent cataracts and macular degeneration
- Vitamin E - found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and a variety of dark leafy greens, vitamin E protects cells in the eyes and helps prevent tissue breakdown
- Lutein & Zeaxanthin - found in kale, spinach, chard, collards, and other green and yellow vegetables, these powerhouse nutrients protect against age-related vision loss
- Essential fatty acids - found in nuts and seeds, a variety of plant oils, and some seafood, essential fatty acids protect retinal function and promote better visual acuity
A Note For Vegans
If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can get all of these nutrients from plant sources, both in supplement form and through your diet. Remember, plants are actually the only source of ALA fatty acids, animals cannot produce them on their own. If you do not eat fish, you can get the same benefit by eating what fish eat: phytoplankton and algae.
A vegetarian diet may further promote visual health by reducing or eliminating the intake of foods linked to eye diseases and disorders. Foods that increase risks for diabetes (sugar and carbs), hypertension (meat and packaged foods), or weight gain (all of the above) can increase risks for vision loss as well.
Healthy Holiday Recipes for Optimal Visual Health
Are you looking for some good recipe ideas this holiday season? Eating Well has a number of delicious recipes to promote visual health for meat eaters and flexitarians. If you are vegan or interested in plant-based meals, give Cookie and Kate a try. Their 29 Vegan Dinner Recipes are filled with vision-saving nutrients. If you’re a fan of fish, check out this fatty acid rich Maple Glazed Salmon recipe, or give your leftover turkey some love with this antioxidant heavy Leftover Turkey Soup recipe. And let’s not forget desert. Sugary and processed foods are bad for your vision, but this healthy Pumpkin Mousse recipe isn’t. Sweetened with fruit sugars and spices like cinnamon and ginger, this recipe is high in vitamins and higher in deliciousness.
The board-certified ophthalmologists at Seeta Eye Centers would like to wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season. If you find yourself in need of eye care during the holidays or if you are simply overdue for an exam, give us a call at 845-454-1025 to schedule your next appointment today. Seeta Eye Centers has locations in Fishkill and Poughkeepsie. We serve the entire Hudson Valley area.