Cataracts and macular degeneration are problems that affect many older individuals. To maintain good vision, you need to keep your eyes focused on the prize, and one way to do this is to eat certain foods that prompt optimal eye health. In addition, you might want to opt for a high-quality multivitamin, such as the one my eye doctor recommends called Macula Complete. (Here’s the link, and neither my eye doctor or I get paid for this recommendation).
You can also maintain good eye health by eating a proper diet and including foods that promote eye health. Here’s the list:
- Eggs. Egg yolks reduce your risk of macular degeneration because they contain two key antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin—and these are needed for good eye health. According to the author of The Eye Care Revolution: Prevent and Reverse Common Vision Problems, Robert Abel, Jr., MD, the best way to acquire lutein and zeaxanthin is through proper diet.
- Fish. Omega-3s are not just good for your heart but also particularly good for anyone who suffers from dry eyes because they reduce inflammation and support the underlying structure of the retina’s cell membranes. One study “found that those who had the greatest intake of omega-3 fats were at 17 percent lower risk of dry eye syndrome.” Many fish contain excellent levels of omega-3s, and if you’ve been avoiding fish because of mercury, read Mercury Levels of Fish and Shellfish, so you can make low-mercury fish choices.
- Green Leafy Vegetables. Green leafy vegetables also contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and these carotenoids are used by the eye to absorb and filter out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. If you want information on the best vegetable sources, read The Eyes Have it When You Eat Your Greens.
- Onions, Shallots, and Garlic. Glutathione is created by the liver after you consume sulfur foods, and many members of the allium family contain sulfur, such as onions, shallots, and garlic. Glutathione supports lens health by preventing cataract formation. So, for good eye health, go ahead and be smelly!
- Whole Grains. Zinc is found in the retina, and, retinal enzymes cannot function without it. In addition, according to Dana M. Dupree, M.D. at the Macula Center, zinc significantly reduce[s] the risk of advanced age-related by about 25 percent.” So, combined with antioxidants and lutein, zinc is essential to good eye health. Additionally, whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates and high in fiber. The best sources are barley, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, oatmeal, popcorn, and whole wheat products.
- Winter Root Vegetables. Yellow and orange winter root vegetables, such as squash and sweet potatoes, are sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, just like greens; however, in addition, these root vegetables provide beta-carotene, which aids in proper retinal function and promotes good vision.
Keep your peepers peeping by consuming the above foods. Opt for eggs, fish, leafy green vegetables, onions, whole grains, and root vegetables when you sit down to dine. You’re never too old to worry about good eye health, and you’re never too old to eat a well rounded diet.