When I was a child, my mother would often say to me, “You should really eat more carrots.” When I whined in response, she would then reply “Carrots give you good eye sight. You will thank me in the future” while ladling more carrot soup into my bowl. Looking back now, I guess my mother’s efforts have paid off (thanks, mum!) considering how I can see perfectly fine without glasses.
But did you know that eating your way to great eye health isn’t just about carrots, carrots and more carrots? There is a plethora of foods which can give your eyes the nutritional boost that they very much need! Let’s check out some of these foods.
A study found that people who consume fish twice or more weekly had a significantly lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) compared to those who didn’t. AMD is a condition, which causes our central vision (which is necessary for tasks like driving) to gradually worsen. But any fish won’t do – it’s got to be oily fish (e.g. salmon, tuna and mackerel) which are laden with omega-3 fatty acids.
Egg ‘em on
Eggs aren’t merely a source of protein. Egg yolks are also a source of zeaxanthin, zinc, vitamin A and lutein, which help protect the eyes from UV damage and lower cataract risk. If you worry that consuming more eggs will up your cholesterol, relax. Experts say that eating two eggs daily doesn’t raise LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Just ensure your daily cholesterol intake doesn’t go beyond 300mg (a big egg yolk has approximately 213mg of cholesterol). But if you have conditions like heart disease, diabetes or high cholesterol, your daily cholesterol intake should be no more than 200mg or 1 large boiled egg.
The black-eyed peas!
No, not the musical group. I’m referring to legumes. Boasting high zinc and bioflavonoids content, legumes like black-eyed peas, kidney beans and lima beans are great for maintaining retinal health as they can lower AMD risk.
It’s ‘berry’ good!
Berries may be tiny but they sure pack a nutritional punch! Berries like bilberries have been found to contain anthocyanosides which aid rhodopsin regeneration – a type of retinal pigment which helps us to see in dim light.
Aside from lutein and zeaxanthin, wolfberries (or goji berries) are jam-packed with antioxidants like vitamins A and C, beta-carotene and lycopene. These nutrients protect eyes from oxidative damage by absorbing blue light (which most digital devices emit in high levels). No wonder researchers say consuming wolfberries can help decrease sensitivity to glare and eye strain while enhancing visual range.
So, incorporate more berries in your daily diet! Other berries like strawberries, blueberries and cherries are good for your vision too.
References: 1. All About Vision. Available at www.allaboutvision.com 2. Eating Well. Available at www.eatingwell.com 3. SF Gate. Available at http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/ 4. University of Maryland Medical Center. Available at www.umm.edu 5. WebMD. Available at www.web