Did you know your eyes are the second most complex organ of your body after the brain? We hardly pay any attention to our eye health. Poor sleep and working in front of screens for a long time can put a strain on your vision. If you hate to imagine yourself in a pair of glasses then stick around.
Today we’ll be talking about the best foods that can undo eye damage and save you from wearing glasses. Does eating carrots work? What about seafood? We’re discussing all that and more.
Let’s begin with carrots.
This is probably the first food that comes to mind when thinking about vision. According to legend, the British Royal Air Force pilots developed visual accuracy to target and shoot down enemy planes, especially at night, because of carrots.
This crunchy snack contains a high concentration of beta carotene that reduces your chances of night blindness. Beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. Since it is a fat-soluble vitamin, your body can absorb maximum beta carotene when you add fats.
So add a dollop of butter to your carrot soups and oil to your carrot salad. Orange and yellow carrots have also been studied to prevent age-related macular degeneration. This is a condition that begins with blurred vision and gradually progresses to vision loss.
Red bell peppers can do a lot.
Colorful bell peppers are a visual treat. They are low-cal snacks and are extremely nutritious. They are jam-packed with water, and antioxidants. Vitamin A, C, B6, K1, potassium, and folate. Red bell peppers are sweeter than orange, yellow, and green peppers. They have more vitamin A than the other varieties too.
Enjoy them as a snack with a dip or add them to your burritos, pizzas, and mixed vegetable salads. They contain lutein and zeaxanthin that prevent oxidation in the eyes. Studies also state that regular red bell pepper consumption can maintain retinal health and prevent macular degeneration.
Drink more water for beautiful eyes.
Your eyes require adequate lubrication to keep them moist and to flush bacteria, dust particles, and other pollutants. Dry itchy eyes can cause redness, difficulty focusing, burning, and headaches. You can reverse blurry vision by drinking plenty of water, and cutting down salt, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol to stay hydrated.
Studies have shown that 38% of blinding cataracts may be associated with dehydration crises. A cataract is a condition where the proteins in your lens start clumping. When this clouding starts covering a wider area of the lens, it can start vision loss and eventually cause blindness. So carry a water bottle when you step out and keep sipping.
Say yes to fatty fish.
Salmon, herring, tuna, and mackerel can bring a whole range of goodness to your body. They are a storehouse of Omega 3 fatty acids which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. The general American population consumes way too much Omega 6s and too little Omega 3s. So having approximately 3 servings of fatty fish per week can balance out the ratio.
DHA, ALA, and EPA are the three main types of Omega 3 fatty acids. In one study the researchers found DHA to prevent age-related vision loss in experimental rats. Eye doctors believe that the study applies to humans as well. Pick wild-caught fish over the canned variety so that you never have to second guess getting maximum nutrients.
Which is your favorite squash?
It’s time to add another nutritious veggie to your diet. Squash is an umbrella term used for several species of plants that include pumpkins, zucchinis, courgettes, and marrows. Winter, butternut, acorn, and summer squash are loaded with nutrients like manganese and Vitamin B9. The potassium from this vegetable helps to lower blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy. Yellow squash also contains vitamin C necessary for promoting strong bones. Additionally, the fiber keeps your digestive system in great condition.
Studies have shown the joint forces of Vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxanthin from squash can improve vision and strengthen your eyes if consumed regularly. You can add squash puree to your baked vegetables or meat; or use it as a base flavor for soups. But a word of caution: discard bitter-tasting squash to avoid toxic squash syndrome.
Eat more blueberries.
Tiny blueberries pack mighty benefits for your body. They help with memory, promoting heart health, and aiding digestion. If you step out in harsh sunlight every day this might negatively impact your vision in the long run. Studies have shown blueberries help your eyes to recover from the damaging effects of sunlight.
Blueberries are the king of antioxidant-rich foods. The anthocyanins from the berries prevent the aging of your eyes. They prevent cancers too. Top your overnight oats with a handful of berries or blend frozen blueberries and bananas to make ice cream like dessert after freezing them for a few hours.
Eat leafy greens to get a visual boost.
They are great energizers. Kale, spinach, collard greens, lettuce, and arugula are rich in vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain minerals like iron, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and folate that keep cataracts away. You will be surprised to know the individual benefits of these leafy vegetables.
1 cup of Kale has approximately 670% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and 400% of the RDA of Vitamin C. These vitamins keep your retina healthy. Kale also keeps diabetes away and reduces the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Arugula has a peppery flavor to your salads and gives you a blast of carotenoids. Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin known to keep age-related vision disturbances at bay. Studies show consuming approximately one serving of these green leafy veggies every day can strengthen your eyes.
Have a keen eye for whole grains.
Adding whole grains to your family’s routine can be a part of a well-balanced diet. Every grain contains three parts: the bran, germ, and the innermost endosperm. All parts are intact in whole grains. Refined grains on the other hand undergo processing to remove the bran and germ. This leaves only the starchy endosperm behind. Grain processing robs proteins, fiber, and essential nutrients from grains. Zinc and vitamins are more important as they have been studied to have a therapeutic effect on your eyes. They reduce oxidative damage and inflammation too.
To make cooking exciting, try cooking new whole grains every week. Buckwheat, amaranth, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, whole wheat, and barley can be a good top-up for fiber vitamins and minerals. Easiest of all start with buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. They are filling and delicious.
Moving along, have a handful of almonds.
Your eyes need fat just as the rest of your body for proper functioning. Almonds are a healthy combination of fats, magnesium, protein, fiber, and Vitamin E. They lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Comparative amounts of nutrients can also be found in hazelnuts, peanuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. Keep these seeds and dry fruits handy to slow down the development of cataracts.
Try a pack of almonds or mixed nuts on your next run to the grocery store. An interesting way to eat almonds is to soak them overnight, get rid of the skin, and have them in the morning.
Eat some mighty eggs.
Are you one of those people who skip the yolks? The amino acids, water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins from the egg whites and the yolk work in harmony to boost eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin impart a yellow color to the yolk. These nutrients protect your eyes from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays and help you to see better in the dark. Having 1 to 2 whole eggs can ensure long-term good vision.
Cooked eggs in any form can do wonders. A few health enthusiasts even like adding raw eggs to their smoothies instead of protein powders. Any form of eggs scavenges harmful reactive oxygen species that are the major culprit for cataracts and macular degeneration.
Are rough-shelled oysters hiding vision benefits?
Shellfish and oysters in particular have high levels of zinc that bring a plethora of health benefits to your body. It can heal wounds faster and boost your immunity. Oysters contain Omega 3 fatty acids that together with zinc improve your vision. Zinc ensures that ocular pigment is adequately produced in your retina. Adequate zinc stores are also related to better central vision.
You will get a substantial amount of copper, B vitamins, and Vitamin D from cooked or raw oysters. Always choose a trusted place and go ahead and order that extra dozen oysters.
Up next are sweet potatoes for dazzling eyes.
By now you must know that foods with an orangish-red color are a blessing for your eyes. Sweet potatoes are no exception. They contain vitamin A, zeaxanthin, and lutein that help you to maintain perfect vision.
Try making french fries with sweet potatoes. It will give vital nutrition in the most delicious form. Additionally, the fiber helps to lose weight and aids digestion.
Beef can brighten eyes.
No literally! The thought of having delicious juicy steak can light up your eyes. Almost one-third of older adults in America experience vision loss.
But proteins present in beef, poultry, or pork can help your eyesight. Beef is called the master of nutrients. It is a rich source of vitamin A and zinc beneficial for the cornea of your eyes.
Grass-fed beef improves blood sugar, reduces heart disease, and the risk of developing cancer, and lowers saturated fat. But this is only true if you cook your cuts properly and have them in moderation. Having an entire T-bone steak slathered in butter in one go can rob all the benefits.