You probably know that proper eye care includes regular examinations and protection against UV rays. But did you also know that your eyes are what you eat? It's true -- consuming the right nutrients can help your eyes thrive. Here are some tips for giving them the necessary support.
Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are good for your eyes. Brightly colored vegetables are especially rich in antioxidants, substances that protect cells against the degenerative effects of oxidation. Some menu items are particularly powerful allies, including:
- Carrots - The old saying about carrots helping you see better may actually be true. They contain beta-carotene, a nutrient belonging to a class known as carotenoids. Beta-carotene is necessary for good retinal function.
- Green leafy vegetables - Kale, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants reduce the amount of blue-wavelength light that hits the macula at the back of the eye, possibly lowering your odds for vision-robbing ailments such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Citrus fruits - If you love oranges, lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits, you're in luck. These fruits are packed with Vitamin C, a necessary nutrient for tissue healing and eye health.
Get Some Fatty Fish
The seafood lover in you will love the fact that fatty fish are good for your eyes. These fish produce significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration by more than 30 percent. This class of fish includes salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel. Just keep in mind that the larger fatty fish may contain significant amounts of mercury, and pace your intake according to your doctor's advice (especially if you're pregnant).
Supplement as Needed
No matter how eye-healthy your diet may be, you may find that there's always room for improvement -- and if you have trouble getting a hold of the necessary foods, you'll definitely need some extra help. That's where nutritional supplements can save the day for your eyes.
- Many eye health supplement products contain both zeaxanthin and lutein -- an easy way for you to augment your leafy vegetable intake.
- Gingko biloba contains useful antioxidants called phytochemicals that can help cells repair themselves more readily. Bilberry is another supplement rich in phytochemicals.
- If you don't like fish, you can get your omega-3 fatty acids in the form of gel capsules instead.
Give your eyes what they need in the form of proper nutrition, and they'll reward you by giving you what need -- many more years of optimal vision. Ask your optometrist or ophthalmologist like one from DC Eye Associates about these and other ways of getting the most out of your eyes.