What To Eat For Healthy Eyes

By on April 10, 2013

The part of your eye called the retina is packed full of concentrated carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin which it needs to stay healthy. Nothing can replace an eye test but the good news is that you can get almost everything you need to ward off the most common eye diseases from a relatively balanced diet.

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Almonds

Vitamin E comes in handy when it comes to preventing cataracts (the world’s biggest cause of blindness) according to several studies. Almonds pack in about 26ms of vitamin E for every 100g serving, and are an easy way to get your daily intake.

How to eat it: Ditch the butter in favour of eye-friendly almond butter or replace flour in brownies with ground almonds instead. Healthy eating has never tasted so good.

Alternatives: If you’re allergic to nuts, try making a guacamole dip with avocado and a dash of olive oil, which are both rich in vitamin E too.

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Oysters

More than just an aphrodisiac for lovers, oysters are a great way of delivering zinc to your body, which is known for keeping your retinas in top shape.

How to eat it: Fresh (ideally in the summer months) with a dash of Tabasco sauce and lemon juice.

Alternatives: If oysters make you squeamish, get your dose from beef, toasted wheat germ (great over cereal) and even the odd square of chocolate (the dark kind).

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Cherries

Cherries are loaded with bioflavonoids and antioxidants which strengthen the small blood vessels that carry oxygen to the eyes and protect them from age-related vision loss and macular degeneration.

How to eat it: Fresh cherries with some natural yogurt and a sprinkling of flax seeds has got to be one of the most eye-friendly ways to start the day.

Watercress

Watercress is slowly emerging as one of nature’s most potent sources of disease-busting vitamins and antioxidants. It’s a great all-rounder, containing lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E, A, C and K plus even more iron than spinach.

Getting enough vitamin C is crucial for eye health. Think of it as a sunscreen and anti-wrinkle cream for your eyes that you take from the inside, protecting you against harmful UV rays and cataracts.

How to eat it: Eating a plate of watercress is a tall order even for the healthiest of us. Try sneaking some into your diet by topping a pizza with it or making a watercress pesto with pine nuts, lemon juice, olive oil, basil and watercress all blitzed together – much more enjoyable.

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Carrots

It’s not just an old wives’ tale: carrots are fantastic for your eyes (though they won’t actually make your vision better). Rich in Beta Carotene, they will protect your vision and, just as Mum promised, they can help you see in the dark.

How to eat it: Get as much goodness from your carrots as possible by eating them raw. Shred it finely into a Vietnamese salad along with ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, raw cabbage and mint to garnish.

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Oily fish

Salmon, mackerel and sardines are all bursting with D.H.A. and E.P.A. — essential for keeping your eyesight healthy. Omega-3 fatty acids are a vital part of the retina in our eyes, and some studies show that eating them regularly could cut the risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to a third.

How to eat it: Mackerel needs to be practically flapping about your plate to be good enough to eat – a few hours too long on the fish counter and it will take on an unpleasant fishy odour. Try a mackerel or salmon Niçoise salad – the eggs are an additional boost for your eye health.

If you’re short of both cash and time, keep a few tins of sardines in your cupboard to have on toast so you’ll always have a constant supply of healthy and cheap Omega-3.

Alternative: If you can’t face eating fish, just two tablespoons of flax seeds contain double your recommended daily amount.

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      Brian Conlin is a freelance writer who writes on a number of topics including health tips.

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