6 foods to spy for eye health
Set your sights on these vision-friendly choices
Like other parts of your body, your eyes thrive on nutritious foods. Research suggests that a healthy diet may help prevent several serious eye problems.*
Take a close look at these six tips for nutrient-packed foods and drinks that may do your eyes some good:
1. Corner some kale. This foodie favorite is loaded with two antioxidants: zeaxanthin and lutein. They may be linked to a lower risk of cataracts — a clouding of the eye’s lens — and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which destroys central vision. You can get these nutrients from other dark green, leafy veggies too, such as spinach and romaine lettuce.
2. Crunch on a carrot. Ever see a rabbit with glasses? You may have heard that nibbling on carrots is a sight-saver. Here’s why: The orange color in carrots is a clear clue that they’re high in beta-carotene, which may help slow the progress of AMD. Other orange-colored fruits and veggies — such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash and apricots — are also easy on the eyes. And beta-carotene has a bonus benefit: It may help you maintain good night vision.
3. Feast on fish. Certain fish — such as salmon, albacore tuna and sardines — are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.** These essential fats may help keep eyes healthy as we age. You can also look for omega-3s beyond the sea: Think walnuts or chia seeds.
4. See your way to more citrus. The vitamin C in citrus fruits — such as oranges and grapefruit — may help protect against cataracts and AMD. Other C-rich gems include cantaloupe, bell peppers, broccoli and strawberries.
5. Brew up some benefits. Green tea contains catechins. Those are plant compounds that may help lower the risk of cataracts and AMD.
6. Look for legumes. Peas, beans and other legumes contain a must-have mineral: zinc. It may help protect eyes from the damaging effects of light. Another easy way to get zinc: Snack on a handful of peanuts. They’re a legume too.
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*Sources: American Academy of Ophthalmology; Mayo Clinic; National Institutes of Health
**Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish, smoked seafood or fish that is high in mercury or was caught in polluted waters. Contact your local health department to check for safety advisories for fish caught in local lakes, rivers and coastal areas.