As the saying goes, eyes are the windows to people’s internal and external worlds.
Given how much most people rely on their eyesight for doing everything from navigating to work in the morning to catch a pop fly in that weekend softball match, many benefits from taking better care of their visual health.
Often, though, people delay making a trip to the optometrist until they start experiencing issues with trying to see.
Fortunately, people can improve their eye health as well as their overall medical profile by eating the right foods.
All organs of the body require specific nutrients to function at their best.
Here are some nom-noms to nosh on in order to take better care of those beautiful peepers.
Few people know that vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness worldwide.
The old wives’ tale is true — eating carrots regularly can protect visual health.
Carrots contain high levels of beta carotene which the body later converts into vitamin A.
In addition to total blindness, lack of adequate vitamin A intake can cause cataracts and macular degeneration.
Carrots also contain high levels of lutein, a nutrient critical to eye health.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Free radicals do more damage than prematurely aging the skin — they can cause problems with human vision as well.
Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants, the tools the body needs to fight the damaging effects of free radicals.
Enjoy a baked sweet potato as a side dish or make a larger one a complete meal.
They taste great with nothing more than butter, salt, and pepper, but folks can experiment with different toppings as well.
Those who enjoy nothing more than digging into a big bag of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds at the ballpark or anywhere else are doing their eyes a solid.
Seeds, particularly pumpkin seeds, are high in vitamins A, C and E and also contain lutein, zinc and zeaxanthin, all nutrients critical for healthy vision.
Sunflower seeds also contain high levels of vitamin E, an important nutrient for preventing age-related macular degeneration.
Only two ounces of these tasty little shell-spitting wonders contains a full day’s supply of the vitamin.
Like seeds, nuts such as almonds and pecans contain high levels of vitamin E. They are also rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential in keeping vision healthy.
Three types of omega-3 fatty acids exist: alpha-linolenic acid (AHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
EPA and DHA help to support healthy eyesight. And both exist in high levels in nuts and legumes.
Along with vitamins A and vitamin E, the B vitamins play a huge role in keeping vision healthy.
People who suffer from chronic dry eye do well to up their egg consumption as EPA and DHA protect moisture.
Those who are vegans can double down on their consumption of nuts and seeds, which also contain B-vitamins, or take an over-the-counter supplement.
People who have a family history of cataracts or glaucoma benefit from increasing their consumption of this fatty fish.
Salmon contains high levels of riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3). Taking riboflavin or a combination of the two is proven to prevent cataracts.
Those who suffer from migraine headaches often experience visual disturbances as part of the aura phase of the attack.
Vitamin B2 may help alleviate the agony, so those who supplement with the nutrient or eat a lot of fatty fish like salmon potentially can decrease the length and severity of the pain.
Surprising as it may seem, chickens can see colors better than human beings can.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that folks chowing down on poultry regularly enjoy better eye health.
Paleontologists tell us that birds descend from the dinosaurs, many of whom were nocturnal.
Those who struggle with night vision may benefit from the occasional rotisserie hen paired with baked sweet potato to improve their vision after the sun sets.
Kale enjoys quite a reputation of late as a cure-all superfood.
And when it comes to visual health, this leafy green provides benefits as well.
Kale packs a nutritional punch and is loaded with antioxidants.
This dark green veggie contains high levels of vitamin A and C, and also contains a ton of trace minerals such as copper.
Copper is critical to eye health, and deficiency in this nutrient can increase the risks of developing macular degeneration.
The body also needs copper to aid in absorbing iron, so women who find themselves suffering anemia due to heavy menstrual bleeding do well to nosh on kale salad.
Other dark leafy greens such as spinach also contain copper.
Strawberries and other berries such as blueberries contain high levels of vitamins essential for healthy vision.
In addition to vitamins A, C, and E, berries contain high levels of zinc.
Many people look to zinc to prevent colds and remedy them when infection occurs, but this mineral also helps keep eyes functioning properly.
Zinc aids the body in converting vitamins to usable forms.
Furthermore, the mineral exists in high levels in the cornea, and researchers believe that supplementing with zinc may prevent macular degeneration.
10. Green Tea
Green tea doesn’t only taste delicious — it contains a ton of vitamins and minerals, all for zero calories (unless buying store brands sweetened with sugar).
Like other foods on the list, green tea, despite what the name suggests, contains carotenoids that help protect eye health.
Like pumpkin seeds, green tea contains zeaxanthin, which can ward off many common eye disorders.
The substance gives paprika and saffrons their signature flavors, so those who like to spice things up or keep them mellow yellow can protect their visual health by adding a dash of either.
Better Vision for Life
As people age, many experience a decline in their visual acuity and may develop eye disorders such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.
But this need not be their fate.
By eating the right foods often enough, people can enjoy better eyesight for life.