Did your mother ever tell you to eat carrots for good eyesight? Mine did. And still does. But here are seven foods that are actually better than carrots for your vision.
1. Spinach and other dark leafy greens
Spinach and other dark leafy greens such as kale offer your eyes are lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that protect against eye damage. Also, lutein has been linked to reduced risk of cataracts.
Oysters are rich in the mineral zinc, which helps to transfer vitamin A from the liver, where it’s stored, to the retina in your eye. Vitamin A helps to produce melanin, a protective eye pigment.
Oysters are a special treat and an acquired taste. So if they’re not for you, include into your diet other food sources rich in zinc, such as egg yolks, peanuts, meats and whole grains.
3. Green tea
Green tea is a rich source of flavonoids, a group of antioxidants that help to protect the retina from sun radiation damage. So, if you don’t already, perhaps try substituting your standard cuppa with a green tea at least once daily.
Walnuts are a rich source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which are different to the variety found in seafood. They may help to look after your blood vessels, as well as blood flow and blood fat levels, which are critical to how the eyes and the rest of the body works. Walnuts also contain vitamin E, folate, melatonin, and antioxidants, all of which protect the body’s – and, therefore, the eyes’ – nerves. I find walnuts are easily enjoyed in muesli, or on their own as a snack. You could also add them to healthy breakfast muffins.
5. Salmon, herrings and sardines
Fatty fish are a rich source of fish oils containing omega-3s. Omega-3s from seafood help to fight inflammation and lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. So get in two serves of fatty fish each week – the canned variety are okay too. You can enjoy fish baked, or in a salad, curry or sandwich. Your eyes will love you for it, not to mention the rest of your body.
6. Citrus fruits and berries
These two types of fruit are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, is a super antioxidant that helps to heal tissue damage, including eye tissue. Other great sources of vitamin C include pawpaw, kiwi fruit and capsicums. Because vitamin C is destroyed by heat, it’s important to enjoy these sources fresh, such as in a salad or a topping for your muesli or pancakes.
As with dark leafy greens, pumpkin is also a really good source of lutein and zeaxanthin. Pumpkin is also a fantastic source of vitamin A, which, as we mentioned before, is great for producing melanin, a protective eye pigment. Pumpkin can be enjoyed in sweet dishes – such as cakes, muffins and brownies – or savoury ones – such as soup, stews and roast pumpkin.
Which of these foods do you already include in your diet? Which would you like to add?