When Mom told you to eat your broccoli, she was also promoting good eye health. Recent studies have shown that certain nutrients found in foods can help the health and wellness of your eyes.
Three Key Nutrients For Focused Vision
A 2012 report says proper nutrition can help to promote healthy eyes and vision. Three nutrients which stood out to researchers are:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish oil (especially sardines and wild-caught salmon) and flaxseed.
- Lutein: Found in dark, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale as well as corn and egg yolks. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines recommend 4 to 8 milligrams of Lutein a day. A half-cup serving of cooked spinach provides 6 milligrams.
- Zeaxanthin: Dark, green leafy vegetables, corn and orange peppers are all great sources. The USDA has not established recommendations for the daily intake of Zeaxanthin.
Both Lutein and Zeaxanthin are a form of Vitamin A. Along with Omega-3, these nutrients may support the area of the retina that is responsible for our most accurate vision. They may also reduce the risk of cataracts. Omega-3 has also been found to help dry eyes, in this 2013 study.
Four Antioxidants for Eye Health, Slow Macular Degeneration
Important eye health research done by the National Eye Institute, found that certain antioxidants can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration by about 25 percent:
- Vitamin C — found in citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, and papaya.
- Vitamin E — found in nuts, fortified cereals, and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin A (beta-carotene) — found in green leafy vegetables as well as orange and red vegetables.
- Zinc — found in oysters, red meat, poultry, and seafood.
The levels of vitamins and minerals used in this research are high and can be difficult to obtain from an average diet. Nutritional supplements for eye health are available. Talk to your doctor or eye care provider to see which dietary supplements are best for your eye health.