What vegetables promote healthy eyesight? You might think of carrots and their association with eye health. While carrots certainly are a colourful, healthful option linked to reducing our risk of night blindness, leafy greens more often are linked to vision protection.
Among the most debilitating eye diseases are glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. You can nourish your eyes with smart food choices.
Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness, and scientists have found that diet can play a role in preventing this eye disease. The “macula” is a region close to the optic nerve at the back of our eyes that allows us to see clearly and distinguish colours. It is composed of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are pigments also found in colourful fruits and vegetables.
Some good sources of zeaxanthin are kale, collard and spinach greens, orange bell peppers and corn. Some good sources of lutein are kale, green leafy vegetables, spinach, corn, peas and yellow and orange vegetables. Egg yolks are another excellent source of lutein.
Consider your eyes when you peruse a farmers’ market or make your grocery list.
Along with a healthful diet with leafy greens, peppers, corn, peas and other veggies, these are some tips from the National Eye Institute to take charge of your vision.
See an eye-care professional routinely. If you are age 50 or older, have a dilated eye exam annually or as recommended by an eye-care professional. Age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma can be detected through regular eye exams.
If you smoke, take steps to quit.
Get regular physical activity.
Maintain normal blood pressure. Do you know your numbers?
Wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat when you are outside in bright sunshine.
Wear safety eyewear when you are working or playing sports.
– Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, L.R.D., is a North Dakota State
University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the department of health,
nutrition and exercise sciences