Antioxidants are one of the most important nutrients when it comes to eye health. Antioxidants protect our eyes from the damage caused by light, air pollutants and smoke.
There are a few antioxidants that are particularly important for eye health – vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidants, is found in bell peppers, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower
Vitamin E is found in nuts and seeds and wheat germ.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan’-thin) are found in leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens.
Vitamin A is probably the most well known eye nutrient – it prevents night blindness. Vitamin A can be found in any orange vegetable such as carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes.
There are several other nutrients that directly improve our eye health. There are also indirect ways our diet affects our eye health. This is related to reducing inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the basis for several chronic health conditions that affect us as we age, including eye health. Avoiding foods that contribute to inflammation is important – avoiding sugar and processed foods. You should also include anti-inflammatory nutrient such as omega 3 fatty acids. These can be found in fatty fish, as well as flaxseeds.
Here are the top 5 tips to help you apply these nutrition principles to your day-to-day eating:
- Have one green and one orange vegetable per day
- Have a small handful of nuts or seeds everyday
- Eat two servings of fatty fish per week
- Replace refined grains with whole grains
- Include a fruit or vegetable at each meal