Nutrition and Eye Health: What’s the Connection?

  • February 27, 2020

A healthy diet is linked to a longer, healthier life. From weight control to diabetes management and lower risk of cardiac disease, what you eat matters. Many people are surprised to learn nutrition also impacts eye health.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nutritional choices can protect eye health and may help slow the progression of some types of eye disease. What foods can protect your vision?

We have a few suggestions for you to consider incorporating into your diet.

5 Food Choices That May Help Protect Eye Health

1. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C

We start with vitamin C because its eye health benefits are well-documented. Researchers even refer to vitamin C as “Vitamin See.” It supports overall eye health and protects against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Vitamin C is found in colorful fruits like oranges, strawberries, kiwi, papaya, and grapefruit. It’s also prominent in leafy green and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, snow peas, brussels sprouts, and bok choy.

2. Produce that contains both vitamin C and beta-carotene

Carrots are renowned for promoting healthier eyes. They are rich in both vitamin C and beta-carotene, a vision-protecting duo.

Red and orange vegetables and fruits tend to have this combination. You’ll find it in sweet potatoes, bell peppers, squash, melon, apricots, and pumpkin.

You can also add herbs and spices that contain beta-carotene to foods high in vitamin C. A few to experiment with include sage, paprika, coriander, parsley, and marjoram.

3. Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids

The heart health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been widely discussed. Omega-3 fatty acids also benefit vision. Researchers believe that may be due to DHA, one of the three fatty acids. Some studies showed DHA prevented age-related vision loss.

You can find omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, and herring. It’s also in nuts, seeds, and plant oils.

4. Fruits that contain anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that guard against vision problems, including UV damage, cataracts, and glaucoma. While many people are aware of how serious glaucoma is, they are less familiar with the damage cataracts can cause. Cataracts do more than cause blurry vision. Left untreated, they can lead to blindness.

You can find anthocyanins in fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, currants, and red grapes.

5. Foods with lutein and zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two more antioxidants linked to better vision health. You can find them in spinach, kale, eggs, kiwi, grapes, squash, and zucchini.

Signature Dining at Five Star Senior Living

At Five Star Senior Living, we understand the importance of good nutrition at every age. Our Signature Dining program features meals designed to be both delicious and nutritious. Produced under the direction of celebrity chef Brad Miller, our menus are a culinary delight.

Visit Five Star Recipes & Tips to watch how meals are prepared and find recipes you can try at home. We also invite you to join us for a meal at the Five Star community nearest you. Call (617) 796-8387 to schedule a time!
 


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