30 March 2012
We all know that a good diet means good health, but can what you eat have an impact on your eyes?
Some research has suggested that certain foods, such as vegetable, fish, nuts and spices all contribute to the overall health of your eyes. Obviously you can’t beat regular eye tests to keep your eyes in tip top condition, but you can take little steps to help them be at their best.
Top 10 Foods for your Eyes
1. Dark Chocolate = Yes, it’s true, chocolate is good for you! Dark chocolate is high in anti-oxidants and flavanoids helping protect blood vessels, which your eyes need to makes sure that the cells of the retina get the nutrients required to keep working. The higher the purity of the chocolate, the better it is, so try to go for 60% purity or above for maximum impact.
2. Carrots = an oldie, but a goodie. Carrots might not give you night vision, but they are packed with beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C, all of which are needed by the retina to help with low light vision and colour vision.
3. Leafy greens = Spinach, chard, kale; all of these are great sauces of vitamins and minerals. They’re also full lutein and zeaxanthin which is used by the retina at the back of the eye for clear vision.
4. Cold water fish = Research shows strong links between the lack of glaucoma in Inuit communities and oily fish. Their diet of fish, such as salmon, sardines and tuna is rich in omega-3.
5. Eggs = Containing high levels of zinc, eggs are great for supporting your retinal health.
6. Berries = Blueberries and bilberries in particular are another great source of anti-oxidants. Plenty of excuse to go for that chocolate and blueberry muffin... although fresh berries in a non-cake setting are preferable!
7. Nuts = Nuts contain high levels of zinc and vitamin E. Vitamin E helps to protect the membrane of cells and, like leafy greens, has been shown to help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
8. Garlic = Not just good for warding off vampires, garlic has long been suggested to promote blood flow and keep your blood vessels healthy. It is also thought that it could strengthen the lens through a high sulphur content.
9. Citrus fruit = Oranges, lemons, limes are all crammed full of vitamin C, helping keep your retina, lens and cornea healthy. As the eye contains the highest concentrations of vitamin C found in the human body, it is vital to keep your levels topped up.
10. Herbs and spices = Parsley, oregano and turmeric are herbs and spices that have been linked to visual health, plus they make your food extra tasty!
Perhaps you won't quite be able to ditch the glasses or contact lenses, but all in all, eating healthily can have lot of advantages for your eyes, as well as the rest of your body – and it doesn’t have to be boring! Just looking at the wide range of ingredients above, there’s plenty there to produce healthy, tasty meals which will make your optometrist smile next time you pop in for a sight test.
Visit the NHS direct website to find out more about the links between food and eyesight: