Are you eating foods that will help improve your eye health? While you won't be able to avoid your reading glasses, here are five food choices that help minimize age-related vision changes and reduce the risk of serious eye diseases.
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, collards, beet tops, and turnip greens (along with broccoli and eggs) are loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin - two powerful antioxidants that may help protect against retinal damage and the onset of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Fruits and vegetables packed with Vitamin C, like oranges, peaches, strawberries, tomatoes, and red bell peppers, help support blood vessels in the eye and may reduce the risk of cataracts.
Peanuts are a great source of vitamin E, which is known for protecting eyes from free-radical damage. Vitamin E may also slow the progression of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Other nuts such as almonds, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts are other good sources of vitamin E.
Kidney beans are a good source of zinc, a mineral that is vital to eye health. Zinc helps get vitamin A from the liver to the retina for eye-protective melanin production. Furthermore, proper amounts of zinc will help with night vision and cataract prevention. Other good sources of zinc are oysters, beef, seafood, poultry, and pumpkin seeds.
Salmon is a fantastic source of two types of omega-3 fatty acids -- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) -- both of which have shown to be important in preventing or slowing down eye diseases. A lack of omega-3s may also contribute to dry eye syndrome. You can also find omega-3 sources in tuna, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
While you can't keep your eyes from aging, you can keep them healthy. The foods mentioned above are all great for eye health, but it is important not to focus on a single nutrient. Research shows that choosing a variety of foods that contain nutrients for eye health will have the best results on slowing age related issues like macular degeneration.
Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD