Friday, May 26th, 2017

Open Your Eyes to Healthy Eating Habits

January 27, 2011

In honor of March’s Save Your Vision Month, the American Optometric Association (AOA) reminds Americans that caring for eyes includes paying attention to nutrition. Approximately 43 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD)or cataracts, the two leading causes of vision loss and blindness. Based on research from multiple studies, there is a strong correlation between good nutrition and the prevention of these age-related eye diseases. By eating foods rich in six nutrients ? antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc ? you can help protect your eye sight and vision.

Research shows that 30 million (or one out of four) Americans age 40 and older suffer from some level of vision loss. Recent studies show that only 29 percent of Americans are coping with vision loss or other eye problems by increasing nutrients for healthy eyes. Basic and clinical research has shown that nutrients in eye-healthy foods can slow vision loss. In some cases, these foods can even improve vision, while providing additional health benefits to the patient.

Healthy Fruits and Vegetables

The AOA recommends eating a diet with a variety of foods loaded with key nutrients for maintaining and improving eye health, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Surveys show that nearly half of all Americans (48 percent) still believe carrots are the best food for eye health. While carrots do contain nutritional value by supplying the provitamin A beta-carotene which is essential for night vision, spinach and other dark, leafy greens prove to be the healthiest foods for eyes because they naturally contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. The following foods which contain the key nutrients for eye health are recommended:

  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: Colorful fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, corn, green beans, peas, oranges and tangerines
  • Essential fatty acids: Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, or herring, whole grain foods, chicken and eggs
  • Vitamin C: Fruits and vegetables, including oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers and tomatoes
  • Vitamin E: Vegetable oils, such as safflower or corn oil, almonds, pecans, sweet potatoes, and sunflower seeds
  • Zinc: Extra-lean red meat, poultry, liver, shellfish, milk, baked beans, and whole grains

Nutrition is a component of health for the entire body, including the eye. Incorporating nutritious ingredients into daily menus is suggested. There are some great, quick and simple recipes that promote healthy eye sight and vision. Visit www.aoa.org for more information.