Most people have heard a thing or two about foods that are healthy for eyes. Carrots are the most popular food to cite, and for good reason. Not far behind come leafy greens and salmon for the specific vitamins and fatty acids these foods are rich in. But the range of foods good for your eyes is wider than you might realize. Here are five more foods to start eating to keep your eyes healthy.
You already know that carrots are good for your eye health, but have you considered pumpkins? Their orange color comes from carotenoids, which means pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, just like carrots. Beta-carotene is great for your eyes because your body turns it into Vitamin A, which your eyes need to stay healthy. Pumpkins also contain a high concentration of Vitamin A (independent of that beta-carotene), which is amazing because it aids your vision in low light.
Image via Flickr by Denim Dave
Like pumpkins, bell peppers contain valuable carotenoids. Specifically, bell peppers have high concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids which are essential to the health of your macula. Your macula is at the center of your retina and is responsible for your central vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin protect your macular cells from oxygen damage.
Beets are known to be a food great for overall health, but people generally don't associate them with eye health. Beets should become part of a good eye health regimen, however, because they possess nitrates. Nitrates are responsible for producing nitric oxide within the human body, which the body needs for blood vessel health. It turns out that nitric oxide is good for the blood vessels in the eyes, too. Since vascular issues are the cause of many eye-related diseases, the nitrates in beets can be quite beneficial to overall eye health.
Image via Flickr by sophie.z.j.
Both pink and red grapefruit pack a double whammy when it comes to eye health. Grapefruit contains beta-carotene and Vitamin C. If you're at risk for cataracts especially, then you should concentrate on getting Vitamin C through grapefruit and other citrus fruits. You have to get enough Vitamin C for at least 10 years for it to help with cataracts, according to eye health research, so start taking a supplement and eating citrus fruits now, and make it a habit for the rest of your life.
Your eyes need zinc for sharp vision and for retina health. Zinc is also recommended for people who are at risk for macular degeneration or who already have early stages of macular degeneration. Shellfish, like lobster, clams, crab, and mussels, are especially high in zinc when compared to other foods. To get the most zinc out of your shellfish, make sure you cook it with water, like steaming, boiling, or braising. Baking, roasting, and sauteing (dry cooking methods) reduce the amount of zinc. The great thing about foods that are good for your eyes is that the vitamins and nutrients they contain are great for many other parts of the body as well.