Maintaining a well-balanced, healthy diet is key to keeping your eyes healthy, and may help reduce your risk for developing eye conditions. Serious eye conditions may be avoided if you include foods that contain a range of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, known as antioxidants. Eye conditions that you may be able to prevent with a healthy diet include:
- cataracts, which cause cloudy vision
- age-related macular degeneration, which can limit your eyesight
- dry eyes
- poor night vision
These antioxidants ward off oxidants that can affect your health in negative ways.
Here are seven of the best foods for your eyes. Most are generally available year-round and for a reasonable price. You can enjoy them on their own or in more complex recipes.
Fish, particularly salmon, can be a great food to consume for eye health. Salmon and other fish have omega-3 fatty acids. These are “healthy” fats. Omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to visual development and the health of the retina in the back of the eye. They can also help prevent dry eyes.
Consider incorporating fish into your meal plan a few days a week.
When buying salmon, choose a wild-caught version instead of farm-raised salmon. That’s because farm-raised salmon has more saturated fat and less omega-3s than wild-caught salmon.
Eggs are a great food to eat for eye health. The yolks contain vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc, which are all vital to eye health.
Vitamin A safeguards the cornea. The cornea is the surface of the eye. Lutein and zeaxanthin lower the chance of getting serious eye conditions like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Zinc contributes to the health of the retina.
The retina is the back of the eye. Zinc also helps eyes see at night.
Almonds, like other nuts and seeds, are generally good for eye health. Almonds contain vitamin E.
This vitamin guards against unstable molecules that target healthy tissue. Consuming regular amounts of vitamin E can help prevent age-related macular degeneration as well as cataracts. You should aim for about 22 international units (IU), or 15 mg of vitamin E a day.
One serving of almonds is about 23 nuts, or ¼ cup, and has 11 IU. Other nuts and seeds that contain vitamin E include sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and peanuts.
Dairy products such as milk and yogurt can be good for the eyes. They contain vitamin A as well as the mineral zinc.
Vitamin A protects the cornea while zinc helps bring that vitamin to the eyes from the liver. Zinc is found throughout the eye, especially the retina and choroid, which is the vascular tissue that lies under the retina.
This important mineral helps with night vision as well as the prevention of cataracts. Dairy from grass-fed cows provides the most benefits.
Carrots are well-known to be good for eye health. Like egg yolks, carrots have vitamin A and also beta carotene. Vitamin A and beta carotene help the surface of the eye and can also help prevent eye infections and other serious eye conditions.
Carrots are easy to eat on the go. Julianne whole carrots or keep a bag of baby carrots handy for an afternoon or evening snack.
Kale is known as a superfood by many because it contains so many important vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. It’s extremely good for eye health. Kale has the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, also found in eggs and other foods.
These nutrients may help to prevent serious eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin aren’t made in the body, so you have to incorporate them into your diet.
A 100 gram serving of kale, which is about 1 ½ cups, contains 11.4 mg of lutein, and it’s recommended you get 10 mg per day. Other vegetables high in lutein are red peppers and spinach.
Oranges and other citrus fruit contain vitamin C, which is key for eye health.
The vitamin, found mainly in fresh fruits and vegetables, contributes to healthy blood vessels in your eyes. It can combat the development of cataracts, and in combination with other vitamins and nutrients, age-related macular degeneration.