Foods can have a powerful effect on our health, that includes our eyes too. The foods you need to maintain good eye health are everyday items that you’ll find in most supermarkets. The variety of foods you can eat for good vision means that you can easily achieve this as a meat-eater, vegetarian or a vegan.
Which foods are good for eye health?
Oily fish/fish oil supplements
Fish is sometimes called ‘brain food’ because of its positive impact on brain function and overall health. Oily fish are best, which include:- Salmon
- Fish oil supplements
Oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke. If that wasn’t reason enough to start eating more fish, there’s also been evidence to show oily fish consumption can help reverse the symptoms of dry eye. It’s best to get these fatty acids through your diet, but if you can't eat fish then fish oil supplements work just as well.
Nuts and seeds
Any kind of nut or seed will do, but here are so great ones to consider:- Peanuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
Just like oily fish, nuts and seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. As if we needed another reason to love peanut butter! They’re also high in vitamin E to help you fight off toxic free radicals and lower your risk of developing eye diseases such as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) or cataracts. Seeds can be tossed into a salad, mixed into soups or baked into bread. Nuts are a versatile snack that can be enjoyed anywhere. They taste just as good in a sweet breakfast like porridge or pancakes as they do in something savoury like chicken satay or a peanut butter curry.
Orange foods for vision boosting beta-carotene
Orange vegetables and fruits are all high in beta-carotene, which helps your eyes to maintain visibility in darker conditions. These foods include:- Oranges
- Sweet potato
Beta Carotene is a type of vitamin A that gives these foods their orange colour. Eating more of these will help your eyes to better absorb light, allowing you to see better in darker conditions. You can try blitzing orange, mango and carrot together for a delicious vitamin-packed juice. Roast sweet potato and have it with a salad for lunch or add berries, peanut butter, granola and a little Greek yogurt for a nutritious breakfast bowl.
Leafy greens to fight blue light
Dark leafy greens can help protect your eyes; they include:- Kale
These greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are also found in your eyes. These antioxidants stop blue light from reaching the retina, preventing the kind of damage that can create AMD.
There are so many ways to make these vegetables taste great. Blend up some kale into a pesto, wilt spinach into your curry, throw greens into a soup, crisp up the kale in the oven with some oil and spices. The tasty possibilities are endless.
Technically not a food, but another important aspect of health that often gets forgotten about. Your body is 70% water, keeping your hydration levels up will help keep your eyes healthy, but also make you function better overall.
Eat a varied diet to get the most benefits
A balanced and varied diet will help you prevent vision problems and keep your eyes in good shape. Switching up the foods you eat regularly will give you the range of nutrients needed to support good eye health.
Try to make your meals as colourful as possible (skittles don’t count, but don’t let that stop you from eating them too!). You’ll get beta-carotene from the orange foods, whilst red foods like tomatoes and green foods like spinach will protect against light induced damage. Add some nuts, seeds and fish/fish oil into your rotation and you’ve got the ultimate diet for optimally functioning eyes.