More than 25 million people worldwide are affected by age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, which according to the American Optometric Association is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 55.
These diseases are often caused by oxidation and inflammation of the eyes, but research has found that foods rich in the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases. Other studies have found that a diet rich in vitamins C and E, beta carotene, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids can also prevent age-related eye diseases. Here are six top sources you should start eating now to improve eyesight.
Rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants and vitamins, kale is also a good source of beta-carotene and is the top combo of both lutein and zeaxanthin; one cup of greens contains 23.8 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin. Use kale in a salad or a side dish; blend it into fruit smoothies; or bake the leaves into kale chips.
It’s not just a tasty side; corn also contains some lutein and zeaxanthin. Research in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry discovered that cooking this veggie longer increased the amount of lutein and the antioxidant levels per serving. Add it to chilis, soups, and casseroles.
One cup of nutrient-dense spinach packs a healthy 20.4 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin. Add spinach to sandwiches and wraps, use it as a salad starter, or make green smoothies with it. Note: Cooking the greens helps your body better absorb lutein.
This fiber-rich veggie is rich in vitamin C, and also contains eye-boosting beta-carotene, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin. Add cooked broccoli to omelets and frittatas, or toss it in marinara sauces and pasta dishes.
One of the healthiest ways to start your day, protein-packed eggs are also provide nutrients such as lutein, vitamin E, and omega 3s, in addition to other nutrients and vitamins. Certain eggs are even better for you: Eggland’s Best eggs, for example, have 38 percent more lutein than regular eggs, 10 times the amount of vitamin E, and more than double the omega-3s in regular eggs
These tasty citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which may help improve the health of your eye tissue, according to the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study, a major clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute. In the eye, vitamin C may help regenerate other important antioxidants, such as vitamin E.