Just like the rest of your body, your eyes need certain vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy. With all the vitamins and supplements available these days, it is hard to keep everything straight, so we’ve prepared a basic guide of nutrition to keep in mind when looking out for your eyes.
Vitamin A and zinc
Vitamin A helps prevent night blindness, and helps you to maintain a healthy, clear cornea. On the other hand, a deficiency of vitamin A can lead to glaucoma, dry eye, and other degeneration.
For a great natural source of vitamin A, carrots and other orange fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, mangoes and apricots all contain beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted by your body to vitamin A.
Zinc helps the body absorb vitamin A, and also helps prevent against macular degeneration and night blindness. Oysters, hamburgers, wheat, and nuts, are all good sources of zinc.
Lutein and zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that function as an antioxidants in the lens and retina. They increase pigment density in the macula, and filter out high-energy blue light. This helps protect your retina, and lowers your risk of macular degeneration.
Like vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in carrots. In addition, spinach, kale, and Swiss Chard, and other leafy greens are great sources of lutein.
Vitamin C and bioflavonoids
Given the wide variety of benefits of vitamin C, hopefully it has already cemented a place in your diet. That being said, with regards to eyesight, vitamin C has been linked to the prevention of cataracts and the delay of macular degeneration. It can also help prevent and alleviate glaucoma.
The best sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables – oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and red peppers, to name a few.
Sometimes called vitamin P (though they’re not vitamins), bioflavonoids work as antioxidants and help your body to absorb vitamin C.
Bilberry is an often-named source of bioflavonoids, but it can be difficult to find. Most foods that contain vitamin C also contain bioflavonoids, however, so there is no need to seek it out.
Vitamin E and selenium
Studies have shown vitamin E may help prevent cataracts, as well as contribute to preventing macular degeneration.
Sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts are great sources of vitamin E.
Selenium helps the body absorb vitamin E, as well as to produce its own antioxidants. Brazil nuts, yeast, and seafood are great sources of Selenium.
Fatty acids are important for visual development in infants. In adults, deficiencies can lead to impaired vision, and increase risk of damage to the retina.
Cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and trout, are good sources of these omega-3 fatty acids.