Fruits, Veggies, and Healthy Vision
It comes as no great surprise to some of our patients at our Springfield optometry practice, The Eye Health Group, when we tell them that including more fruits and vegetables in their diet will improve the health of their eyes.
While eating carrots at every meal won’t prevent the gradual decline of vision associated with age, eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, and leafy greens will slow the rate at which a person’s vision fades.
What Science Tells Us about Improving Our Eye Health
The National Eye Institute sponsored several major clinical trials called the Age Related Eye Disease Study(AREDS) to evaluate the effect of vitamins on the progression of age related eye diseases. They published their initial findings in 2001, reporting that the antioxidant vitamins C and E, along with copper, zinc, and beta-carotene reduced by 25% the risk of suffering declining eye health in patient’s later years. A follow-up study in 2013 not only added lutein, fatty acids, and zeaxanthin to the list, it declared that these substances are vital for eye health
The next time you’re out shopping for food, you might want to add the following to your shopping list:
- Lemons, oranges, and grapefruit for vitamin C
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach, collards, and kale for lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C
- Carrots for beta-carotene, as well as vitamin A
- Sweet potatoes for vitamin E and beta-carotene
For the record, fruits and vegetables are not alone in their ability to provide nourishment that is beneficial to your eyesight. So are eggs, legumes, sunflower seeds, fish, beef, and of course, water. So, don't worry. Vegetarians don't have a monopoly on improving their eye health.
If you'd like to know more about diet and eye health, don't forget to ask our doctor of optometry next time you come to The Eye Health Group in Springfield for your annual eye exam.