With the new year fast approaching many of us try to commit to a New Year's resolution. Top New Year's resolutions include trying to eat healthier, exercise more and save money. Not only is eating healthier important for our overall health, healthy eating also benefits our eye health. We've all heard that carrots are good for our vision but other foods also contain nutrients that help keep our eyes healthy.
Sweet potatoes and oranges contain two important antioxidants, vitamins C and E, that help us stay healthy. Vitamin C can lower our risk of developing cataracts and may even slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration. The easiest way to get vitamin C is by eating plenty of citrus fruits, such as grapefruits, oranges, and lemons. Vitamin E protects our eyes from "free radicals", molecules that disrupt healthy tissue, and you can get it by eating sweet potatoes and nuts.
Fatty fish, such as salmon or sardines, is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for brain function and a healthy immune system. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids also play a crucial role in our visual development and retinal function.
Studies have shown that the nutrients lutein and xeazanthin are linked to a lowered risk of chronic eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, and the foods that have the most of these are eggs and leafy greens.
Oysters are a great source of zinc. Why do we need zinc? It's essential to many processes in our bodies including helping vitamin A get from our livers to our retinas. It doesn't matter how much vitamin A we eat if it can't get to where it needs to go! If you're not a fan of oysters, you can get zinc in smaller doses from meats, beans, and nuts.
Carrots along with other yellow, orange, or leafy green fruits and veggies, are an excellent source of vitamin A. These types of produce get their color from beta-carotene. Our intestines use beta-carotene to make vitamin A, which helps our eyes convert light into brainwaves and is an important component of our corneas (the clear part of the front of our eyes). Vitamin A deficiency leaves up to half a million children blind each year.
Another component to eye health is routine eye exams. Your eyes will benefit from the addition of these nutritious foods to your diet but even the healthiest food isn't a substitute for regular eye exams. Poor nutrition isn't the only thing that can cause eye problems, which is why it's crucial to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.
Start your new year off right with healthier eating and an eye exam!