We leave no stone unturned when it comes to weight loss or staying fit and healthy. Be it diet or exercise we ensure that all the rules are followed with utmost care and importance. But when the question is about the eyes, it is not the same. Most often than not we tend to ignore our eyes and fail to keep it healthy only to suffer from vision or eye problems. However, what many are unaware of is the fact that simple changes in the diet are all you need to do to keep the eyes healthy and improve eyesight.
Role Of Diet In Eye Health
Our eyes, just like any other part/ organ of our body, require adequate nutrition to perform the key functions and stay healthy. Nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3, zinc, etc., play a key role to keep the eyes healthy and improve our eyesight. Eating a diet that lacks these nutrients not only leads to the deficiency of these nutrients but ultimately increases the risk of various eye disorders. Hence, a well-balanced diet is the need of the hour as it not only provides all the essential nutrients but also boosts eyesight and maintain eye health. Moreover, it can also prevent a plethora of eye conditions such as dry eyes, poor night vision, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the long run.
So we bring you a list of some everyday foods that act as simple but effective home remedies for eyesight and prevent eye problems.
Foods For A Healthy Eyesight
While you can opt for food supplements to keep your eyes healthy, incorporating the following foods in your diet is a better way to keep your eyes healthy and improve eyesight. These are:
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are necessary for our body including the eyes. As our body does not produce these EFAs by itself, the only way to acquire these nutrients is through diet, i.e; from the food we eat. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerels are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are known, in particular, to be beneficial for the eyes. Omega-3 strengthens the blood vessels of the eyes and aids the proper flow of intraocular fluid in the eyes, thus warding off dry eye syndrome and glaucoma among other vision-related conditions.
Tip: The trick is to include at least two servings of these fish in your weekly diet plan. This not only improves visual development but also helps in maintaining the health of your retina.
2. Greens and Leafy Vegetables
Leafy greens such as spinach and kale and vegetables like broccoli, peas, and avocados contain carotenoids, namely lutein, and zeaxanthin. The compounds act as antioxidants which help reduce the cellular damage and thus, prevent the risk of cataracts and age-related eye problems. Age-related macular degeneration is a condition that causes damage to the retina resulting in gradual loss of vision. It also boosts the development of a pigment in the retina known as macular pigment. This pigment protects the eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays that can cause cell damage, thus acting as a natural sunscreen for your eyes. Hence, do not forget to include greens and leafy vegetables in your diet.
Tip: Generous servings of spinach or kale 2-3 times a week is ideal to meet your lutein and zeaxanthin requirements.
3. Eggs, Dairy and Poultry
Eggs are another good source of vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc which are essential for eye health. Poultry such as turkey is rich in zinc. Vitamin A in eggs and poultry protects the cornea, the protective transparent surface of the eye, thereby reducing the possibility of dry eyes. The presence of zinc boosts the health of the retina and prevents night blindness. Lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the chances of developing cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Eggs are packed with protein and go well with all your meals, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Dairy products such as milk and curd also contain good amounts of Vitamin A and zinc, which help in improving the vision, thus acting as a healthy food for the eyes.
Tip: One egg or a serving of turkey and a glass of milk a day is all you need to include in your diet to keep your eyes healthy.
4. Citrus Fruits and Berries
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, kiwi fruit, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries, and other berries are rich in Vitamin C, which acts as a powerful antioxidant. This in combination with other vitamins and nutrients found in these fruits helps in the formation and maintenance of connective tissue including collagen, which is found in the cornea. Moreover, berries also flush toxins from the body and improve the health of the tissues in the eyes and delay the development of cataract and age-related macular degeneration.
Tip: Eat plenty of citrus fruits and berries as these are refreshing and make for a good snack. Also, since Vitamin C is water soluble you don’t have to worry about consuming too much of it.
5. Nuts and Seeds
Why snack on that packet of chips or eat oil-laden bhajias to fill your stomach in the evening? Instead, munch a handful of nuts to satiate your cravings which can also keep your eyes healthy. Yes! Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, both of which are vital to maintaining eye health. Vitamin E protects the cells from damage caused by free radicals that break down healthy eye tissue, thus reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Other nuts and seeds that contain Vitamin E are peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds. Chia seeds, flax seed, and black currant seeds are also rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Tip: Since most nuts are high in calories, consume them in moderation. One serving a day i.e. a handful of nuts can give you the nutrition your eyes require to stay healthy.
6. Red-colored Fruits and Veggies
Look beyond carrots and embrace other red and orange colored fruits and veggies such as tomatoes, bell peppers, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, corn, cantaloupe, guava, apricots, and mangoes. The reason being all these fruits and veggies are good sources of Vitamin A and C and beta-carotene. Vitamin A protects the surface of the eye and helps prevent infections, thereby lowering the risk of cataracts, retinal problems, and other eye conditions. Vitamin C prevents the inflammation and improves the functioning of the eyes.
Tip: One cup of these colorful fruits and veggies on a daily basis can help you to sustain healthy eyes and also act as a home remedy for eyesight.
Follow these simple home remedies for eyesight that can not only improve eye health but also help lower the risk of eye and vision-related problems. Eat healthy, Stay healthy.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)
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