The nutrients you consume via your diet have a significant impact on your eye health.
Like most people, you’ve likely heard that carrots are beneficial to your eyesight. But, what about other foods, and the nutrients they contain? In this article, we’ll talk about five nutrients that you need to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear and sharp.
#1: Vitamin A
Vitamin A is one of the most essential nutrients for optimum eye health.
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness, corneal ulcers, dry eyes, and even more serious eye conditions if you have a severe deficiency.
Fortunately, there are many fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Collard greens
Spices derived from chilli peppers are also high in vitamin A. These include:
- Red pepper
- Chilli powder
You can get an adequate amount of vitamin A by incorporating all of these foods into your daily diet.
#2: Vitamin C
Your eyes require substantial amounts of vitamin C because the aqueous humour of your eye contains high concentrations of the vitamin.
The aqueous humour is a liquid produced by your eyes. It provides nutrition to different areas of your eyes including the ocular tissues, cornea, and the lens. It also maintains the pressure that keeps your eyeballs in its spherical shape.
This is why vitamin C is another important aspect of nutrition for eye health.
There are a ton of foods that are rich in vitamin C so it’s very easy to ensure that you get enough of the vitamin.
Foods that contain high amounts of vitamin C include:
- Chilli peppers (fresh)
- Mustard spinach
Vitamin C plays a vital role in maintaining eye health and boosting your immune system. Consuming a wide range of foods rich in vitamin C keeps your eyes healthy. It also improves your body’s ability to fight off infections and prevent diseases.
#3: Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that protects fatty acids from oxidation.
The eyes need vitamin E because your retinas contain a high concentration of fatty acids. A vitamin E deficiency can cause retinal degeneration.
The best food sources of vitamin E include:
- Various oils (wheat germ, rice bran, sunflower, safflower, grape seed, etc.)
- Pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Raw sweet red peppers
By consuming these foods, you can prevent eye conditions such as cataracts and retinal degeneration.
#4: Lutein and zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants known as carotenoids. They give many fruits and vegetables their green, yellow, orange, or red colour.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are also found in the macula of your eye, which is a layer of light-sensitive cells located at the back of your eyeball.
These two antioxidants absorb blue and ultraviolet light, which prevents excessive sunlight from damaging your eyes. They also protect your eyes from oxidative stress that leads to macular degeneration.
Foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin include:
- Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, mustard greens)
- Green peas
- Brussels sprouts
Since lutein and zeaxanthin are found in many fruits and vegetables, it’s easy to ensure that you get sufficient amounts of these antioxidants.
#5: Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)
Gamma-Linolenic acid or GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that can be found in plants.
Evidence suggests that GLA has anti-inflammatory properties and can protect you from chronic dry eye syndrome.
The body has no capability to produce GLA, so you can only get GLA from the foods that you eat.
Ideal sources of GLA are:
- Certain oils (hemp, borage, canola)
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
A healthy diet helps in promoting excellent eye health
Eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, oils, and grains that contain the nutrients mentioned in this post can prevent vision issues such as night blindness, cataracts, macular degeneration, and dry eye syndrome.
The great thing about consuming a healthy diet is that it provides benefits other than eye health. By eating fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods, you also keep your entire body healthy and maintain the strength of your immune system.
That being said, for certain people, a healthy diet is not enough. If you wear contact lenses, you also need to ensure that you practice proper contact lens care and safety.
Photos from Pexels.
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