How Your Diet Can Help Your Eyes
There seems to be bad news about our diets at every turn, these days. One minute you’re told that drinking too much caffeine is bad for you. Before you can put the mug down, a study is released urging you to drink coffee because it may offer some benefits. With so much confusing and conflicting information out there, how can you really know which foods help you? It starts with careful research and consideration of your personal needs. You should always consult your doctor before beginning a diet regimen.
If a complete overhaul of your diet isn’t up your alley, consider these simple additions to your diet to help improve the health of your eyes:
Kale – You might be sick of hearing about it by now; it seems to be everywhere and in everything. But before you dismiss it as another fad, consider how adding kale and other leafy greens can help your eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients found in kale and spinach, are critical to the health of your macula (the central portion of the retina, which is responsible for central vision). Kale also contains protein, fiber and vitamins A, C and K—all of which help your body run smoothly.
Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon – It’s no secret that fish is the superior animal protein option for the health-conscious. Our bodies rely on omega-3 fats to aid in cell function. But be aware! Certain species of fish are actually harmful to your health. Pollution of water systems has led to a rise in contaminated fish unfit for consumption. Fish which are high in mercury also pose significant risks to your health. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, however, provides both high levels of omega-3 and low levels of mercury. Research suggests that diets high in omega-3 fats result in a lower risk for macular degeneration.
Pumpkin – Don’t roll your eyes just yet! We know, it’s difficult to escape pumpkins in the fall. Lattes, scones, bread, pie, air freshener… the list goes on. Americans definitely have an over-the-top obsession with this Jack-o-Lantern of all trades. But what you may not have realized is that pumpkin can really benefit the health of your eyes. Pumpkins gain their orange color from a large amount of beta-carotene, a chemical compound which is converted by your body into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps your retina to process light efficiently. A cup-size serving of pumpkin provides over 200% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A! Just try not to load it up with a bunch of sugar. That pumpkin-spice latte isn’t going to cut it.