Nutrition and the New Year

With the start of a new year, many of us make resolutions to be healthier. By keeping our bodies healthy with proper diet and exercise, we can also improve the health of our eyes. While not all eye diseases are preventable, having the proper nourishment and care for ourselves can at least lessen the chances of developing certain eye diseases. Below is a list of some of the healthiest foods for our eyes. As you’re thinking of making healthier eating choices this year, consider adding a few of these to your menu:


1. Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens, are full of lutein and zeaxanthin. These are nutrients that the body does not make naturally and must be obtained from food. They nourish the macula in our eye, helping to prevent macular degeneration. They also act as antioxidants which have the potential to reduce the development of cataracts.


2. Fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel have large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to help reduce dryness and inflammation of the eyes and might help prevent macular degeneration.


3. Eggs contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which as previously mentioned help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataract development.


4. Orange fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, bell peppers, pumpkins, oranges, and cantaloupe, are a good source of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is a nutrient essential to processing visual information in our retina. Deficiencies in vitamin A can lead to severe dryness and night blindness. Both vitamins A and C can reduce the chances of macular degeneration and cataracts.


5. Nuts, like pistachios, walnuts, and almonds, have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E that are beneficial to eye health.


6. Legumes, including kidney beans, black-eyed peas and lima beans, contain zinc which can also reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.


7. Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread and pasta are sources of vitamin E, zinc, and niacin which are all beneficial to eye health. They can also help the body keep a lower glycemic index which might reduce the risk of macular degeneration.