Foods for Healthy Vision
Eyes are essential, and we need to nourish them for good eyesight. If you have insulin resistance, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, you need to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels low. That means avoiding sugars, starches and sweet fruit, especially fruit juices. Macular degeneration can be avoided by using dark glasses in sources of bright ultraviolet light and taking antioxidants. Antioxidants are good for the aging eye. Here are some other foods that help keep your vision healthy.
1. Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are the best source of lutein, a yellow-hued antioxidant. One of lutein’s most famous qualities is its ability to protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. Lutein (along with zeaxanthin, another carotenoid) forms the yellow pigment of your retina and absorbs blue light, a harmful component of sunlight, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. Researchers also suspect that lutein’s antioxidant actions help to protect your eyes from light-induced oxidative damage. Have the yolks raw or sunny side up for best absorption. (Never use cracked eggs like this- most cases of salmonella come from commercial cooking where vats of eggs are sitting around, including those which were not perfect.)
Lutein is also found in vegetables, especially green leafy ones and tomato paste, but when 10 volunteers ate different sources of lutein (spinach, eggs or one of two types of lutein supplements) eggs came out on top. Those who ate eggs as their lutein source had blood levels of lutein that were about three times higher than that of those who ate other lutein sources. The researchers suspect that other components in the egg yolk, such as lecithin, are responsible for its superior absorbability.
2. Brazil Nuts
One Brazil nut contains 120 mcg of selenium, which is about twice the Recommended Daily Allowance. Selenium’s antioxidant activity fights free radicals that may damage your eye’s lens and macula at the center of your retina. This may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
3. Goji Berries, Blueberries (and Other Berries)
Goji berries and blueberries contain anthocyanins, potent antioxidants that give fruits their red and purple color. Because of this, berries can help to prevent age-related damage and improve blood flow to your eyes. Anthocyanins also strengthen blood vessel walls, which can slow the development of diabetic retinopathy. Aside from goji berries, blueberries, cherries, red grape, pomegranates, red cabbage, and beets also contain high levels of anthocyanins.
4. Wild Salmon and Pasture-Raised Organic Beef
Salmon and other oily fish like sardines, herring, and black cod are rich in omega-3 fats. Pasture-raised organic beef has similarly rich levels, but not conventional feedlot corn-raised beef. A study from Harvard Medical School found that people who eat fish twice a week while avoiding unhealthy fats like trans fats have less than half the risk of developing macular degeneration as people who do neither. Meanwhile, omega-3 fats help protect light-sensing cells and are linked to a lower risk of cataracts. When eating fish, be careful to choose wild, low-mercury varieties. As an alternative, you can take a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 supplement, such as fish oil, cod liver oil or krill oil.
5. Vitamin C Rich Foods like Bell Peppers, Kiwi or Papaya
The highest levels of vitamin C are found in foods like amla, acerola, bell peppers, kiwi fruit, goji berries, guava, jujube dates and grapefruit. So are herbs like coriander, chives, parsley, red peppers and horseradish. One serving of papaya will give you close to a three-day supply of vitamin C, which is one reason why papaya has been found to protect against macular degeneration, but it is not the food with the highest or most balanced levels. According to a 2001 study by the National Institutes of Health, people with macular degeneration could slow the disease by getting 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, and 80 mg of zinc every day. Orange juice is NOT one of the best sources of Vitamin C.
6. Broccoli or other brassicas
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting compound that’s also a powerful antioxidant. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, human retinal cells treated with sulforaphane were protected from oxidizing free radicals for several days. Other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale, mustard greens, garlic mustard greens and turnips are also rich in sulforaphane.