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Foods That are Good for the Eyes

Updated on May 7, 2011

The eye needs certain nutrients to keep it healthy. These include beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin, and omega-3.

Beta-carotene:

You've probably already heard of carrots as being good for you eyes. And it is true because of the beta carotene in carrots. When you think beta-carotene, think yellow and orange. For example sweet potatoes and butternut squash have good source of beta carotene. Other sources of beta carotene includes kale, spinanch, collards, and other types of greens such as turnip greens and mustard greens. Lettuce too. The dark and red kind of lettuce will have more beta-carotene than iceberg lettuce.

Vitamin C and E and Zinc for the eyes

For vitamin C think of the three B's: Bell peppers, bussel sprouts, and broccoli. Fruits like kiwi, papayas, oranges, and strawberries have good amounts of vitamin C.

Kale and avocados both have vitamin C and E.

Good sources of vitamin E includes green olives, spinach, and almonds.

Foods rich in zinc include oysters and turkey.


Lutein and Zeaxanthin for Eyes

Lutien and zeaxanthin usually comes together and are naturally-occurring carotenoids found in the retina of the eye. It is highly concentrated in the macula area which is a small area in the retina responsible for central vision.

Lutien and zeaxanthin keeps the eye healthy by acting as an anti-oxidant to reduce oxidative stress from free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that are produced as a natural by-product of metabolism and from other environmental pollutants (especially cigarette smoking).

Lutien and zeaxanthin also absorbs the harmful blue-portion of the spectrum of the sun's rays.

By increasing lutien and zeaxanthin consumption, it increase the macula pigment concentration and therefore decreases the risk of eye diseases such as age-related macular degneration.

Studies have shown that greater increase of dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin may also help lower the risk of cataracts. Diet rich in riboflavin (B2) and niacin (B3) may also help reduce the risk of cataracts.

The vegetables with good source of lutein and zeaxanthin are kale, turnip greens, collards, and spinach. To a lesser extent, broccoli, corn, lettuce, peas, and brussels sprouts have them too. Okra, celery, tomatoes, and carrots has a little bit of them as well.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are in some beans and some fruits such as papayas, tangerines, and peaches.

You can see a chart of the amount lutein and zeaxanthin of various foods at macular.org.

The egg yolks are another good source for lutein. Although there are less grams of lutein in eggs than in spinach, your body can absorb the lutein much better. Like other carotenoids, lutein is fat-soluble and therefore is absorbed much better in the presence of fat (such as from olive oil).

Omega 3

Omega-3 consumption is associated with decrease risk of macular degeneration and chronic dry eye syndrome.

Eggs from hens fed a rich diet in omega-3 will produce eggs that contain a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Some omega-3 fortified eggs can be found at your supermarket.

Other sources of omega-3 includes salmon, sardines, and other wild fish. And also walnuts, flaxseed, soybean, and canola oil.

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