Our sight is one of our most valuable assets, this is why we should focus more on eye health – in the end, it is certainly better to prevent than to treat. Eye treatments are expensive, and it often happens that once your vision deteriorates, you can rarely recover it 100%. As you may already know, some foods can promote healthy eyes over the years, as certain nutrients and vitamins play an essential role for preventing chronic eye conditions such as cataracts or macular degeneration, two of the most common eye conditions these days. No matter if you will get these essential nutrients from food or you will opt for supplements, they can truly make a difference in your life. Having said that, here are some of the most important nutrients that promote healthy eyes and should not miss from your daily diet:
Lutein is by far the most important nutrient for your eyes, and it occurs naturally in carotenoids. At the same time, lutein is a compound that is found inside the eye as well, and it is extremely important for your central vision as it prevents oxidative stress and limits the effects of free radicals on your eyes. If you want to increase your lutein intake, you should eat more eggs, spinach, dark leafy vegetables and such. Besides improving your sight and keeping your eyes healthy, lutein also reduces the risk for age-related eye diseases.
2. Vitamin C
The health benefits of Vitamin C are many, but few of us know that in addition to strengthening our immune system and helping us fight off free radicals, Vitamin C is also essential for healthy eyes. Doctors recommend us 500 mg of Vitamin C (also referred to as ascorbic acid) on a daily basis. The good news is that this valuable nutrient can be found in most citrus fruits, especially oranges, grapefruits and lemons. If you stick to the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C, you can prevent the loss of visual acuity (a very common age-related problem) and you can also lower your risk for cataracts.
3. Vitamin E
Doctors recommend us approximately 400 mg of Vitamin E per day. The antioxidant properties of this compound are very well-known, and Vitamin E can be widely found in cereals, sweet potatoes, salads as well as nuts. As a matter of fact, it is highly recommended to increase your daily intake of nuts given the fact that besides Vitamin E, nuts also contain essential fatty acids and other compounds that keep your heart healthy and lower the risk for certain types of cancer. When it comes to eye health, Vitamin E is known to protect the eye cells and to prevent the free radicals (unstable molecules found in the surrounding environment) from breaking down the healthy eye tissue, which often results in chronic eye diseases.
Zinc is an extremely important trace mineral that contributes to the production of melanin, a protective pigment that occurs naturally in the eyes. As a matter of fact, zinc is extremely important for your overall health, as this compound promotes the health of your immune system, it speeds up the healing process and such. Oysters, nuts and cereals are three of the foods that contain the highest amounts of zinc, and by adopting a diet that is rich in this trace mineral you will protect the vascular tissue of the eye and maintain your visual acuity.
Copper is a very powerful antioxidant that can be found in beans, lentils, seeds and nuts. It has strong protective properties and it is vital for the proper functioning of your body, as it limits the effects of free radicals. As mentioned above, free radicals can cause extensive damage to your body: not only are they one of the leading risk factors for cancer, but they also speed up the aging process, trigger oxidative stress and also damage your body cells. Otherwise stated, free radicals are responsible for a wide array of health conditions, and copper can dramatically lower the risks while keeping your eyes healthy at the same time.
6. Essential Fatty Acids
The most popular essential fatty acids are the omega-3 and omega-6, which are an important part of the human diet given the fact that they provide the fuel your body cells need to function correctly, and they also ensure the correct functioning of your nervous system. At the same time, essential fatty acids are also responsible for visual development and for maintaining your retinal function over the years, this is why omega-3 and 6 are particularly important for children.