As we age, our eyesight naturally decreases with age; however, this decline can be mitigated through proper nutrition. Ensuring that your diet includes essential vitamins is key to maintaining optimal eye health – and in this article we’ll outline five essential ones you should include as part of a daily diet to protect them.
The Role of Vitamin A in Eye Health
Vitamin A plays an integral part in maintaining optimal eye health. It plays an integral part in vision maintenance and facilitates proper functioning of cornea and conjunctival membranes, as well as protecting retina’s light-sensitive cells thereby improving night vision and preventing night blindness.
Sources of Vitamin A
There are two types of vitamin A: retinoids found in animal products and carotenoids found in plant-based foods.
- Retinoid-rich sources: beef liver, egg yolks, dairy products such as cheese, butter, and whole milk
- Carotenoid-rich sources: carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, and other leafy greens
The Role of Vitamin C in Eye Health
Vitamin C is an extremely potent antioxidant and has been shown to protect against both age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, two eye conditions that can lead to vision loss. Furthermore, Vitamin C helps produce collagen, an essential component of connective tissues found in cornea and sclera tissues of eyes.
Sources of Vitamin C
Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C. Include these in your diet for better eye health:
- Citrus fruits: oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines
- Berries: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries
- Vegetables: bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
The Role of Vitamin E in Eye Health
Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant known to protect eyes from harmful free radicals that may contribute to cataract formation and AMD development. Furthermore, early treatment with Vitamin E could even prevent progression of cataracts before it occurs.
Sources of Vitamin E
To increase your vitamin E intake, add the following foods to your diet:
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and peanuts
- Vegetable oils: sunflower, safflower, and wheat germ oil
- Whole grains: whole wheat products, brown rice, and oats
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
The Role of Vitamin B2 in Eye Health
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is essential to good eye health. It helps prevent cataracts while simultaneously supporting cell function in your eye’s tissues and aiding energy metabolism within them. Additionally, Riboflavin promotes energy metabolism within its cells for enhanced energy management in your eyes’ cells.
Sources of Vitamin B2
Your body does not store riboflavin, so it is necessary to incorporate foods rich in this nutrient into your daily diet. Examples include:
- Dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese
- Leafy green vegetables: spinach, kale, and lettuce
- Whole grains: whole wheat bread, rice, and pasta
- Meat and fish: lean meats, red meat, poultry, and fish
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
The Role of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in Eye Health
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in your eyes’ macula and retina. Their antioxidant properties act as a natural shield against free radicals while protecting from digital screen use or sunlight exposure, with studies suggesting higher intake can decrease age-related macular degeneration risk and cataract formation risks.
Sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in various fruits and vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables. Some excellent sources include:
- Vegetables: spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and broccoli
- Fruits: oranges, grapes, and kiwifruit
- Egg yolks: they contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, but with a lot less quantity than vegetables
Incorporating these essential vitamins into your daily diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help preserve your eye health and reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases. Remember to consult your healthcare provider before making any drastic changes to your diet or taking supplements, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition. With the right nutrients in your diet, you will not only be enriching the health of your eyes but also your overall well-being.