Most of us are aware of the importance of a balanced diet. We understand the need to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables for optimal health and to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. What many do not know, however, is that proper nutrition is critical for reducing the risk of eye related disease later in life. What you eat now paves the way to your future eye health.
According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, just 27% of women and 19% of men report eating the Food Guide Pyramid-recommended five servings of fruits and veggies every day. That means that the vast majority of Americans are missing an opportunity to preserve their vision because of poor diet choices today. Here are six foods that should be added to your diet to keep your eyes healthy for years to come.
- Dark Leafy Greens – Dark leafy greens are one of the best foods you can eat for overall health. They prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration, which causes progressive damage to the retina. This results in a gradual loss of vision. The reason dark veggies are so great is because they contain lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which contain antioxidant properties that help prevent cell damage.
- Orange Veggies – We know carrots are good for the eyes because they contain beta-carotene. But did you know that other orange fruits and veggies are also excellent for eye health? Veggies such as sweet potatoes and squash and fruits such as cantaloupe and apricots contain some of the highest levels of beta-carotene found in food.
- Fish – Omega-3 fatty acids have gained popularity over the years because of the multitude of health benefits they possess. High amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna. Omega-3’s help ward off macular degeneration and dry-eye syndrome. In fact, taking over the counter Omega-3’s following LASIK surgery is recommended to improve the dry eye condition often experienced temporarily, following the procedure.
- Broccoli – While broccoli is another dark, green veggie that contains both lutein and zeaxanthin, it also contains vitamin C. The combination of these three super nutrients reduces the risk of macular degeneration and vision loss.
- Seeds, Nuts and Wheat Germ – Seeds, nuts and wheat germ are packed with a lot of good nutrients such as Omega-3’s and vitamin C and E. Vitamin C and E protect the eyes against free radical damage. They also may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
By eating a diet rich in the foods listed above you not only decrease the chance of developing cancer and heart disease, you also decrease the chance of eye related diseases later in life. What you eat today, dictates how well you see tomorrow.