Proper nourishment is critical for your overall health and well-being.
It can also affect the health of your eyes. In fact, a lack of certain foods can actively contribute to or exacerbate poor vision.
Here, Dr. William Goldstein and our team in the Detroit, MI area explores six foods that are good for the eyes. We also offer eye care services to help you maintain good vision for years to come.
You have likely heard that carrots improve eyesight, but where did this notion originate? Many World War II experts believe the claim was first made by leaders in the British Royal Air Force, when their pilots used radar to identify and attack enemy planes. To keep a lid on this new, revolutionary technology, they started a rumor that the pilots ate a lot of carrots to help them see better at night.
As it turns out, there may be some truth to this concept. Carrots are rich in beta carotene. The body converts this red-orange pigment into retinol, a form of Vitamin A that helps maintain normal vision.
In fact, research suggests that beta carotene actually helps to reduce the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Beet greens are an excellent source of lutein, a powerful antioxidant. Lutein supports eye health and helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and other conditions. Additionally, beets contain a host of phytochemicals that can help enhance optic health.
Like beta carotene, lycopene is another pigment that gives fruits and vegetables a rich, red color. Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, which (much like lutein) may reduce the likelihood of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration later in life.
Want to make the most of your meal? Choose dark produce; redder tomatoes have more lycopene than lighter ones.
The macula stores two important antioxidants: lutein and zeaxanthin. When you eat foods rich in these nutrients, such as raw spinach and other dark leafy greens, they actively support eye health.
In fact, lutein and zeaxanthin not only help improve vision, they also help the eye detect contrast better. As a result, a diet rich in dark leafy greens can enhance long-term vision for a better quality of life.
Dark leafy greens are not the only foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are prevalent in egg yolks as well. In fact, one study found that individuals who ate just one egg every day enjoyed increased levels of lutein by 26 percent, while zeaxanthin levels went up by 38 percent.
Better yet, the study also reported that one egg per day did not have a negative impact on cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
Oranges are known as a primary source of Vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system and enhance overall health. They also contain naringin and hesperidin, flavonoids that are specific to citrus fruits.
A 15-year study conducted by the Westmead Institute for Medical Research suggests that individuals who eat oranges regularly are less likely to develop macular degeneration. Specifically, those who ate at least one serving of oranges per day reduced their risk for the condition by up to 60 percent.