A Clear Look at the Best Nutrients for Eye Health
It’s important to maintain healthy eyes if you want to keep your vision clear for as long as possible. Did you know that what you eat and the vitamins and nutrients that you take are directly related to your vision and eye health?
You might be doing your eyes a disservice if you aren’t maintaining good nutrition!
We’re here to talk about some of the best nutrients for eye health. You can get some in your food, while others are best taken as supplements (especially if you have dietary restrictions).
Let’s discuss what to eat for eye health.
Vitamin E is recommended for plenty of different health issues, but did you know that it’s good for your ocular health?
Your eyes (especially your retinas) contain a high amount of fatty acids (we’ll discuss those more in a later section, don’t worry). Vitamin E protects fatty acids from oxidation.
Some studies have speculated that vitamin E can help prevent future cataracts, though the evidence is unclear.
If you’re deficient in vitamin E, you may suffer from blindness or retinal degeneration. That said, many people get more than enough vitamin E in their diets to prevent this problem.
Vitamin E comes from plant sources. Even if you don’t get enough fruits and vegetables, you may still get enough vitamin E from plant-based oils, nuts and nut butters, and seeds.
Leafy greens, bell peppers, pumpkins, mangos, and avocados also have good amounts of vitamin E. In other words, as long as you get enough plants in your diet, you’ll be fine. Otherwise, try a supplement.
Zinc functions as an antioxidant and your eyes contain plenty of it. It’s suspected to help with the development of pigments in your retina. Without these pigments, you’re at risk of night blindness.
It may slow the progression of macular degeneration, though this isn’t certain.
Again, many people get enough zinc from their diets, but many over-the-counter multivitamins also contain adequate zinc.
Food sources include red and white meat, nuts, seeds, beans, dairy products, and seafood. Oysters contain more zinc than any other food (with 605% of the daily recommended intake!).
Because many of the best zinc sources are meat and dairy, vegans and vegetarians may have trouble getting enough zinc in their diets. They should try zinc supplements as well as fortified cereals.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your skin, your brain, and your overall functions. Did you know that they’re also good for your eyes?
Taking enough omega-3 fatty acids can help with chronic dry eye, and may help to prevent ocular diseases. People who suffer from diabetes-related eye health problems may improve with omega-3 supplementation, and it may reduce the risks of diabetic retinopathy.
This importance starts from infancy (meaning that you should make sure that your children get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diets early on). It helps the eyes develop. A lack of DHA from omega-3 fatty acids results in a greater chance of impaired vision.
As an adult, omega-3 fatty acids still help you maintain your vision. These fatty acids are present in high amounts in your retinas.
Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly sourced from seafood like mackerel, oysters, and anchovies. All fatty fish are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
This presents a problem for vegetarians and vegans. Flax seeds and chia seeds are rich in this nutrient, but if you don’t eat them every day, it’s best to take a supplement.
While most supplements are fish-based, new algae-based supplements are available for vegans and vegetarians.
Vitamin C is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s great for keeping your immune system healthy which prevents things like colds and other viruses and promotes healing.
It’s also good for your eyes.
Your eyes need antioxidants. Vitamin C is concentrated in the outer layer of liquid on your eye (or the aqueous humor) so getting enough vitamin C helps to maintain that layer. Without enough antioxidants, you’re at risk of getting cataracts.
Lucky for you, most people get more than enough vitamin C in their diets (and if not, it’s also present in high amounts in multivitamins).
If you eat fruits and vegetables, you get vitamin C. These include papaya, guava, broccoli, citrus fruits like pineapple and oranges, and even potatoes! While you should always eat your fruits and veggies for overall health, make sure you do it for your eyes if nothing else.
Did you know that vitamin A is the absolute most important nutrient for your eye health? A vitamin A deficiency is the number 1 cause of blindness.
A lack of vitamin A presents as dry and itchy eyes on the less severe end, then night blindness, and then more serious conditions like macular degeneration. This is because vitamin A maintains your photoreceptors (or the cells that sense light).
Most people get adequate amounts of vitamin A from foods. It’s found in egg yolks, and liver, as well as skim milk. That said, people who don’t eat dairy or meat may have trouble getting enough.
Some leafy greens and red, orange, or yellow vegetables and fruits (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and grapefruit for example) have good amounts of vitamin A. If you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables on your plant-based diet, take a supplement to protect your eye health.
Use These Nutrients for Eye Health
Maintaining your eye health in your younger years will help you maintain your vision when you get older. Even if you’re already suffering from eye conditions, supplementing your vitamin intake with these nutrients for eye health may help to stop the progression of the condition or even reverse it.
Try these supplements and foods for good vision and protect your eyes today.
Do you want to make sure that your eyes stay healthy and your vision stays sharp? We want to help! Contact us at Cedar Park Vision and get an appointment today.