Best Nutrients To Protect Eye Health

While there is no particular diet that can prevent eye problems for good, studies have suggested that certain nutrients can help preserve their health to a degree. But before you head down to the store for supplements, experts strongly recommend acquiring these nutrients from foods. 

"It's always best to get the nutrients we know help vision from foods," Elizabeth J. Johnson, a research scientist and associate professor at Tufts University in Boston told Web MD. "Foods may contain many other nutrients we aren't aware of that may help, too."

Studies and experts recommend that the following be included in your diet. While you pay attention to what you put on your plate, make sure you are also following other steps to protect your eyesight. 

1. Lutein, Zeaxanthin

These two antioxidants are linked to a reduced risk of various eyesight problems. Also known as macular pigments, they are said to protect your eye tissues from harmful blue light, sunlight damage, air pollution, and cigarette smoke. 

Most colorful varieties of fruits and vegetables can provide these antioxidants in sufficient amounts. Leafy greens are among the best sources — kale, romaine lettuce, collard greens, turnip greens, and spinach to name a few.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

"Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties," said Dr. Ivana Kim, associate professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. There is evidence to suggest that inflammation plays a role in age-related macular degeneration, she added.

Seafood is a valuable source of these fatty acids, especially salmon, tuna, halibut, and sardines. However, if you do not intend to include fish in your diet, you can consider soybeans, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, and chia seeds.

3. Vitamin A, C, E

Carrots and other orange-colored produce contain beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A which helps with the functioning of the eye. Additionally, make sure to eat citrus fruits and berries for vitamin C, which has been linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Vitamin E maintains the health of cell membranes and helps with DNA repair, thus protecting eye tissue from damage caused by free radicals. Nuts are a valuable source with an ounce of almonds providing nearly half of your daily recommended intake of E.

4. Zinc

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is found in high concentration in the eyes, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Poor night vision and cloudy cataracts are among the possible symptoms of a deficiency.

The nutrient is said to play a role in making sure your retina — the innermost tissue of your eye — is in good condition. Eggs are a superfood for eye health as the yolk provides zinc in addition to lutein and zeaxanthin. Oysters, milk, yogurt, shellfish, baked beans, and whole grains are other good sources to include in your diet.