13 Foods That Can Help You Maintain Good Eyesight

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What you eat can affect how well you can see

Photo Modified: Flickr / Mark Probst / CC BY 4.0

13 Foods That Can Help You Maintain Good Eyesight

Photo Modified: Flickr / Mark Probst / CC BY 4.0

Your vision quality is determined by several different factors, but you may not be aware that your overall health and diet can either help or hurt your eyesight. Even if you are lucky enough to have 20-20 vision, there are certain foods that maintain your eye health. 

Açaí

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Açaí is loaded with vitamins A and C,” Bennett says. “This antioxidant-rich food protects the retina from free-radical damage.” 

Blueberries

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“According to a Tufts University study, blueberries may help to reduce your risk of cataracts, glaucoma, heart disease, cancer, and other conditions,” Deviney says. “Eating blueberries regularly improves vision and strengthens blood vessels in the back of the eyes.” Not only do blueberries help your eyes, but they can also improve your skin.

Broccoli

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If you’re planning on spending time in the sun, consider eating fiber-rich broccoli. “Broccoli contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidant pigments that absorb UV rays,” Bennett says. 

Carrots

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Carrots may not eliminate your need for glasses, but they are high in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A when absorbed by the body,” Deviney says. “Vitamin A, which is composed of a number of antioxidants, guards the surface of the eye to decrease the risk of ocular infections as well as other infectious illnesses.”

Eggs

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Eggs are another example of antioxidant-rich foods that are beneficial to your eyes,” Deviney says. “Eggs also contain lutein and a study showed that compared to leafy greens, the body is able to absorb these antioxidants better from eggs.”

Leafy Greens

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Now here’s another reason to eat your green vegetables. “To maintain healthy eyesight, make sure you eat spinach along with other leafy green vegetables, such as kale, Swiss chard, and broccoli,” Deviney says. “These leafy greens are filled with vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. It is believed that lutein and zeaxanthin in the macula block blue light from reaching the underlying structures in the retina and reduce the risk of light-induced damage that could lead to macular degeneration (AMD).”

Nuts and Seeds

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“Vitamins C and E work together to keep healthy tissue strong, but most of us don't get as much vitamin E as we should from food,” says Rene Ficek, registered dietitian and the lead dietitian nutritionist at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating. “Have a small handful of sunflower seeds, or use a tablespoon of wheat germ oil in your salad dressing for a big boost. Almonds, pecans, and vegetable oils are also good sources.”

Red Meat

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Enjoying steak every once in a while may not be a bad thing after all. “Although it often gets a bad rap, red meat is a great source of the mineral zinc, which is found in the macula of the eye and is also important for immune function,” Bennett says.

Spinach

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Spinach contains four eye-protecting qualities: vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin,” says Mona Bagga, eye surgeon at Assil Eye Institute. “Because they absorb 40 to 90 percent of blue light intensity, spinach is like sunscreen for your eyes.”

 

Sweet Potatoes

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Carrots are not the only orange vegetable that can help your eyes. “Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene and antioxidants and they help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts,” Bagga says.

Tomatoes

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Tomatoes, which are packed full of carotenoids and vitamin A,  which can help keep the lens and retina healthy and functioning properly,” says Dave Ardaya, optometrist for the California Optometric Association

Watercress

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“High dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin is linked to lower risk of advanced age-related macular (eye) degeneration, the most common cause of adult blindness,” says Renee Cooper of Live Gourmet. “One cup of raw watercress contains over 1,900 micrograms of lutein and zeaxanthin, suggesting that watercress consumption might help prevent the occurrence of vision-robbing macular degeneration.”

Wild Salmon

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Wild caught salmon contains omega-3 fats, which provide structural support to help retinal function,” says Farley. “Salmon contains a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin, which is especially beneficial to protect again eye diseases.”