There are certain nutrients which contribute greatly to eye health. What are they? Will carrots do the trick? What foods do you need to eat to keep eyes healthy and avoid eye conditions? Read on to learn which nutrients are essential to eye health and why, and how to get more of them into your diet.
Top 7 Nutrients For Eye Health
1. Vitamin A
Why is Vitamin A important for eyesight?
Lack of Vitamin A can lead to night blindness and dry eye syndrome. Vitamin A contributes to the eyes’ ability to process light.
What are the best food sources for Vitamin A?
You have probably heard that carrots can improve your eyesight. Though it’s not a myth, because they are a source of beta carotene and plant based Provitamin A carotenoids, there are actually better sources of Vitamin A that are more beneficial for eye health. That’s because plant based sources must convert carotenoids into a usable form of Vitamin A, and they only account for about 30% of your daily requirement. Other plant sources include kale and spinach.
Move over Carrots, Hello Liver?
The best food sources that don’t have to be converted and are the only ones to contain Vitamin A are animal products. These include:
- Egg yolks
- Dairy products
If you are a vegan, you might want to discuss supplementation with your doctor if you experience dry eye or other eye conditions and are concerned about low Vitamin A levels.
2. Lutein and zeaxanthin
How do lutein and zeaxanthin improve eyesight?
According to Healthline.com, these antioxidant powerhouses are found in the macula, the central part of the retina and protect against:
What are the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin?
Lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health usually work together and are found in:
- Swiss Chard
- Green peas
- High quality supplements
3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Another nutrient that many people are deficient in are Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s are essential to eye health.
Why are Omega 3’s important to eye health?
Omega 3’s work in the brain and they also affect the retina. Lack of this nutrient can affect eye development in children. People low in Omega 3’s tend to suffer from dry eye, and are more prone to other eye health conditions.
One study showed that taking Omega 3 supplements for three months reduced dry eye significantly according to the National Institute of Health. It may also prevent cataracts,and other eye health conditions according to Web MD
What are good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids?
- Cod liver oil
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
4. Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA)
The Other Fatty Acid
Though many people have heard about Omega 3 fatty acids and DHA and EPA, there is another fatty acid that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This is GLA otherwise known as Gamma Linoleic Acid.
What does GLA do for eyesight?
GLA is good for eye health because it may reduce dry eye disease and unlike other omega 6’s it is actually anti-inflammatory.
What are the best sources of GLA?
The best sources include primrose oil and borage oil.
5. Vitamin C
How does Vitamin C protect your eyesight?
The front of the eye is filled with a specific fluid called the aqueous humor. This is produced by the eye to bathe and nourish its different parts. Levels of vitamin C can increase its concentration so when you eat foods rich in Vitamin C it has a positive impact on eye health. Most of us are aware that citrus fruits, kiwi, guava, and peppers are high in vitamin C but there are some better, less commonly known sources.
Some of the best sources of Vitamin C that are less common include:
- Kakadu Plums -This fruit provides a whopping 5200 mg of the sunshine vitamin per 100 grams and 100 times more Vitamin C than oranges. That’s 530% of your daily value needed!
- Acerola Cherries- ½ cup provides 822 mg of Vitamin C.
- Rose Hips- Not only are they calming in tea, rose hips are high in vitamin C.
- Thyme, Parsley, Mustard Spinach and Brussel Sprouts- Most of us think of fruit when it comes to Vitamin C, but these herbs and veggies are some good sources to sneak in extra servings of antioxidants and Vitamin C.
6. Vitamin E
According to All About Vision, Vitamin E may be one of the best sources to protect eyes against age related macular degeneration. Studies showed a 25% risk reduction in those who supplemented.
What are the best food sources of Vitamin E?
Food sources of Vitamin E include:
- Sunflower seeds
- Flaxseed Oil
Last, but certainly not least in nutrients that are good for your eyes, is zinc.
Why is Zinc good for eyesight?
Your eyes contain high levels of Zinc and it appears to be involved in the process of visual pigments in the retina according to an article in published medical journals. Deficiency may contribute to night blindness and an increased risk of macular degeneration.
Good sources of Zinc include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Beef, turkey, chicken
We all know that a healthy diet can help us lead longer lives, but the right nutrients can also contribute to better eyesight. See your eye doctor regularly and make sure your diet is full of what your eyes need so you can have 20/20 vision for life.