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January 2020

Foods for Eye Health

Do your eyes have all the nutrients they need to protect your vision? Studies reveal that the five main eye diseases: cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), dry eyes, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy have a nutritional link. Certain nutrients with antioxidant properties are important for keeping your eyes healthy. These nutrients are beta-carotene and vitamin A; lutein and zeaxanthin; vitamins C, D and E; zinc and omega-3 fats. The best sources of these nutrients are found in whole foods.

Eat Right to Protect Your Eyesight
Healthy eating is good for your eyesight! Choose plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, each day. Have fish that is rich in omega-3 fats several times a week. Include healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil to boost absorption of key nutrients. It is best to choose healthy food over supplements.

Omega-3 Fats & Vitamin D
Omega-3 fats can relieve dry eyes. Good sources of omega-3s are:
Salmon Sardines Trout Tuna White Fish Halibut Flax Seed. Salmon is also a good source of Vitamin D which reduces inflammation and supports eye health.

Beta-Carotene & Vitamin A
Beta carotene may slow macular degeneration. This nutrient helps prevent dry-eyes and night blindness as it converts to Vitamin A in the body. Fruits and vegetables that are orange or dark green are good sources of beta-carotene and include:
Carrots Sweet Potatoes Butternut Squash Mangos Spinach Collard Greens.

Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Lutein & Zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants.  They can protect the eye from sun damage which is linked to reducing the risk of AMD and cataracts. Sources include:
Broccoli Kale Dark Leafy Greens Red Grapes Mangos Oranges. They are best absorbed when eaten with a little fat. Drizzle veggies with olive oil or have low-fat yogurt with fruit.

Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin E
Vitamin C, an antioxidant, can help decrease the risk of cataracts. Excellent food sources are:
Strawberries Oranges Bell Peppers Broccoli Cantaloupe Tomatoes.  Zinc is a mineral that protects the eye. Good sources of this mineral are:
Legumes Poultry Lean Meat Bulgur Wheat. Vitamin E is an eye-protective antioxidant. Food sources include:
Avocado Almonds Spinach Wheat Germ.

Other Factors to Consider for Eye Health

  • If you’re at risk of developing AMD, an eye supplement may be recommended. Discuss the risks & benefits of supplements with your eye care professional. Only use as directed.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight and lifestyle contribute to eye health.  Keep blood pressure and blood sugar under control and avoid smoking.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • If you spend a lot of time focusing on one thing, your eyes can get fatigued.  Give your eyes a rest to reduce eye strain.


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