They say you are what you eat—and that expression translates to our eyesight as well. Sometimes, though, we need a reminder to take care of our eyes. Age and other factors can affect our vision, but a balanced diet can help to offset some of that deterioration. Take note of these essential vitamins and minerals and consider how you might plan your meals this summer to pack a nutritional punch:
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant in that it helps protect the eyes from damage associated with exposure to environmental factors. Another benefit is that it enhances nutrient delivery to the eyes by promoting healthy blood vessels. Vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits and broccoli. So, drink up that orange juice!
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is needed to form rhodopsin, a molecule used by cells in the retina that detect light. Vitamin A is found in liver, egg yolks, fish and cod liver oil. Beta carotene is a precursor of Vitamin A, because the body converts it into A. Beta-carotene is found in yellow and orange vegetables, such as carrots and pumpkin. Green leafy vegetables are known to be a good source, too. Consider adding carrots and spinach to your morning smoothie for some added nutrition.
Lutein and zeaxanthin: These plant compounds belong to the carotenoid family and are concentrated in the macula of the eye. Lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that protect against oxidative damage. The best food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale, broccoli and parsley), egg yolks, kiwi, corn and pumpkin. Salad, anyone?
Zinc: Zinc aids in the conversion of retinol (a form of vitamin A) into retinal, which is necessary for night vision. Zinc is a bit of a nutrient superstar because it’s needed to deliver vitamin A to the eyes. It does double duty when paired with vitamin C to protect the eyes against oxidative damage. Zinc is found in oysters, meat, eggs, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
This eye healthy recipe was created by Josh from The Steele Project. Josh has dedicated the past few years to attaining overall body health and has lost an astounding amount of weight, including recently dedicating time to exploring his eye health and discovering how it can give a picture of overall health. He created this delicious yogurt bowl by using coconut vanilla Greek yogurt topped with strawberries, blueberries, granola, walnuts, cashew butter, bee pollen and a drizzle of honey. Full of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, this filling bowl is a great breakfast to prepare at night and take with you to work in the morning!