Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top 10 Superfoods For your Eyes

Many people suffer from poor eyesight, distorted vision, or have difficulty seeing objects close up (far-sightedness) or at a distance (near-sightedness). Taking proper care of your eyes, including providing the nutrients they need, plays a vital role in keeping them healthy.

The overall health of your eyes depends on certain nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, bioflavonoids, carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants.

Eating certain superfoods can keep your eyes functioning at their best for a longer period of time, as well as help prevent various eye problems.

1. Spinach

To improve your eyesight, you must regularly eat spinach along with other green vegetables, such as kale, Swiss chard, turnips, mustard leaves and collard greens.

Spinach contains a lot of nutrients including vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin that are good for the eyes. Vitamin A helps protect the cornea, lutein protects the eyes from ultraviolet light and zeaxanthin contributes to visual development.

For maximum benefits, drink a glass of fresh spinach juice on an empty stomach in the morning. You can also enjoy spinach as a side dish, in salads or sautéed.

2. Salmon

Eating salmon regularly can help protect the retina from damage and prevent blindness. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps prevent dry eyes. The omega-3 fatty acids also help ward off age-related macular degeneration.

Experts recommend having two servings of salmon a week. Salmon can be consumed in soup, salad or as the main dish. Other cold-water fish that help maintain eye health are sardines, herring, mackerel and tuna.

3. Carrots

Carrots contain a lot of beta-carotene, which is a precursor for vitamin A. Vitamin A prevents night blindness, helps maintain a healthy and clear cornea, and protects the cells in your eyes and throughout your body.

Carrots also contain lutein, which helps increase pigment density in the macula, the oval-shaped yellow spot near the center of the retina. This in turn protects the retina and lowers the risk of macular degeneration. Carrots are also rich in fiber and potassium.

You can eat carrots as a snack or you can make soups, salads or side dishes.

4. Blueberries

Blueberries support healthy eye functioning through their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, collagen-stabilizing, vasoprotective and rhodopsin-regenerating properties.

Eating blueberries regularly improves vision and strengthens blood vessels in the back of the eyes. Blueberries also contain anthocyanins, which help lower both high blood pressure and inflammation and also prevent blockages in the arteries that feed oxygen to the retina.

Along with blueberries, you must also eat blackberries, mulberries, cranberries and bilberries.

5. Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes contain a good amount of vitamin A, an essential nutrient for the eyes. Vitamin A improves eyesight and also prevents cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Vitamin A is also required to solve the problem of dry eyes and protect the eyes from both bacterial and viral infections. Sweet potatoes are also rich in beta-carotene, potassium and fiber.

Sweet potatoes come in about 400 different varieties throughout the year and can be cooked in wide variety of ways such as baked, grilled, fried or boiled.

6. Peppers

For the overall health of your eyes, you must regularly eat a variety of peppers including green, red, yellow, orange, and even purple, brown and black.

Peppers are one of the richest sources of vitamins A and C. While vitamin A helps preserve eyesight, vitamin C protects the eyes against cataracts.

At the same time, peppers are also rich in vitamin B6, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and lycopene. All these nutrients are essential for maintaining the overall health of the eyes.

To include peppers in your diet, you can grill, stuff, steam, bake and stir-fry them. You can also eat them raw as a snack or part of a healthy salad plate.

7. Walnuts

Walnuts contain a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids that play an important role in maintaining overall eye health. Also, walnuts contain antioxidants, zinc and vitamin E, which work to combat inflammation and preserve cardiovascular health. Along with walnuts, you can also eat other types of nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and peanuts.

Eating a handful of walnuts daily can greatly improve the health of your eyes and protect them from many different kinds of vision problems.

8. Avocado

Avocados are also great for your eyes. They contain lutein that helps prevent macular degeneration, cataracts and other age-related eye diseases.

They also contain beta-carotene and vitamins B6, C, and E that are essential to enjoy good eyesight and to protect the eyes from oxidative stress damage leading to poor vision.

You can eat avocado as is or add it to salads, dips, soups or sandwiches.

9. Broccoli

Broccoli contains a good amount of vitamin B2. A deficiency of vitamin B2 can make the eyes highly sensitive to light, which can cause inflammation, blurred vision and ocular fatigue. Vitamin B2 also plays a role in preventing cataracts or delaying their progress.

Broccoli also contains powerful phytochemical antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, and vitamin A that are essential for healthy eyesight.

For maximum nutritional benefits, eat the tender broccoli heads raw rather than cooked. They go well in many types of salads and can be enjoyed as a healthy snack with some veggie dip.

10. Strawberries:

Strawberries contain a good amount of vitamin C, an antioxidant that the body requires to maintain healthy eyes and keep them free from inflammatory diseases.

The different antioxidants present in strawberries can help ward off eye problems like dryness of the eyes, macular degeneration and vision defects.

Three or more servings of strawberries daily can decrease the possibility of age-related eye issues. You can eat strawberries as a great snack, add them to a bowl of cereal or a fruit salad, or in fruity desserts for a healthy sweet treat.

To conclude, all the above superfoods can help maintain the overall health of your eyes. So, try to eat more of these superfoods and give your eyes the nutritional support they need to be at their best!

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