When it comes to food that improves eyesight, everyone says that carrots are the best. Unfortunately, this is a myth, since carrots are only really good at preventing eye-related deterioration of age. Behind the carrot myth, however, there is a really important truth to be understood: carrots contain vitamin A, one of several nutrients considered essential for eye health.
To help prevent things like glaucoma, cataracts or AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and to maintain sharp vision, Andrea Thau, president of the American Optometric Association (AOA), recommends a diet rich in 5 types of nutrients
1. Lutein and zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids in eyes that have antioxidant properties. The Glaucoma Research Foundation believes that these two are capable of preventing eye damage, by stopping oxidative stress that damages the optic nerve and leads to problems such as glaucoma. These can be found in dark green leaves, which are also rich in nitrate, another nutrient that is essential to reduce oxidative stress.
You have to eat: Brussels sprouts, kale, pumpkin, nectarines, eggs, corn, broccoli, kale, papayas and romaine lettuce.
2. Omega-3 fatty acids
You’ve probably heard that Omega-3s are great for the heart, but did you know how important they are to eye health? In particular, there are two omega-3, DHA and EPA to which we must pay attention. DHA is found in the retina and EPA produces DHA in the body. Studies have found that low levels of these nutrients can cause AMD and related vision problems. The omega 3 can also, according to Thau, dampen dry eyes, thanks to its being a natural inflammatory agent.
You have to eat: nuts, tuna, sardines, salmon, flaxseed, linseed oil and halibut.
3. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is the reason why we all remember that carrots are said to help with our sight. Like lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin A is an antioxidant nutrient that works against eye damage caused to eyes by oxidative stress.
You have to eat: sweet potatoes, mangoes, spinach, raw red peppers, ricotta cheese, apricots, melon and carrots.
4. Vitamin C
Surprisingly, most of the cells in our body require the powerful antioxidant qualities of vitamin C to protect us from damage. The AOA research seems to suggest that by getting an adequate daily amount of vitamin C, you are substantially decreasing the risk of cataracts. Therefore, it is always a good idea to take an orange (or other food rich in vitamin C). You have to eat: strawberries, oranges, grapefruit and kiwi.
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is probably the least understood of all vitamins. However, it is very important. Like vitamins A and C, E is a powerful antioxidant that around 70% of people (particularly over 30) are not getting enough. Thau says the research has convinced him that vitamin E fights free radicals that break down our healthy tissue. This means that vitamin E could be useful to prevent cataracts and AMD