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.
“Basic and clinical research has shown that nutrients in eye-healthy foods can slow vision loss. Indeed, in some cases, these foods can even improve vision, while providing additional health benefits to the patient.” ~ Dr. Stuart Richer, Optometrist and AOA’s Vision and Nutrition Expert
What can you do today to help your vison from the inside out? The AOA and registered dietician, Elizabeth Somer, recommends eating a diet with a variety of foods loaded with key nutrients for maintaining and improving eye health, such as lutein (LOO-teen) and zeaxanthin.
The American Eye-Q® survey showed that nearly half of all Americans (48%) still believe carrots are the best food for eye health. While carrots do contain nutritional value by supplying the pro-vitamin 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 AOA, along with nutritional ingredient manufacturers Kemin and DSM, recommend the following foods which contain the key nutrients for eye health:
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 eyes. I suggest incorporating nutritious ingredients into daily menus. There are some great, quick and simple recipes that promote healthy eye sight and vision.” ~ Elizabeth Somer, Registered Dietician