The foods you eat have an impact on your entire body – not just your weight or energy levels. Evidence shows that a healthy diet can prevent the development of certain eye diseases and keep your vision strong. Eating the right foods can also stave off cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and retinopathies.
Let’s explore the reasons why diet affects your vision and the best foods to include on your shopping list.
How Diet Affects Your Vision
Some of the health complications from being overweight can cause problems for your eyes. For example, if you have type 2 diabetes, the blood vessels in your eyes can be affected as well. When this happens, you can develop diabetic retinopathy or a vitreous hemorrhage. Overweight or obese individuals are also at an increased risk for macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Even if you are at a healthy weight, it’s still important to eat your vegetables. You need the right nutrients to maintain your eyesight. Research shows that certain vitamins and nutrients like Vitamins E and C and iron reduce the risk for age-related decline and the onset of cataracts. Omega-3 fatty acids may also prevent proliferative retinopathies, a leading cause of blindness.
Best Vitamins and Nutrients for Eye Health
You don’t necessarily have to eat anything special to keep the eyes healthy. As long as you’re eating a balanced, wholesome diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, you are probably getting enough nutrients to keep your vision strong. That said, some foods are specifically linked to good eye health:
- Fish. Certain types of fish have oil in their gut and body tissue that is an excellent source of omega-3s. These good fats play a role in maintaining proper eye functioning and retinal health.
- Nuts, legumes and seeds. Some nuts are rich in omega-3 acids as well as Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the eyes from harmful free radicals. If there are too many free radicals in the body, they can damage healthy eye tissue.
- Leafy greens. In addition to the Vitamin C they provide, leafy greens have high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. These phytochemicals have been linked to lower risks of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye diseases.
- Citrus fruits. Lemons, oranges and grapefruits have plenty of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that slows macular degeneration and the development of cataracts.
- Eggs and beef. Small portions of eggs and beef can also be beneficial to your eye health. Eggs contain omega-3s, Vitamin E and lutein. Beef offers plenty of zinc, though you can get these levels from some yogurts, nuts and beans.
Protect Your Vision with Diet and Exercise
A high-fat diet may taste good but it can put you at risk for obesity, cardiovascular problems and age-related macular degeneration. If you have more questions about maintaining proper eye health through diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors, contact Empire Retina Consultants today. We take a holistic approach toward good eye health.