Our health is very closely linked to our diet in many ways, and maintaining a healthy intake of the right foods is crucial to help keep us strong and healthy and to stave off disease. No part of the body is safe in fact from the role of diet, including something as seemingly far removed as our eyes.
To this end, as with anything, there are foods to include in the diet and there are foods to avoid. Here we will list both to help you look after your eye health as much as possible.
Foods to Seek Out
Foods high in beta carotene are crucial for good eye health. This is because beta carotene helps the body to make vitamin A which is used to maintain good eye health. A deficiency of vitamin A in fact will cause xerophthalmia which dries out the eyes and affects the cornea. Vitamin A can also help to prevent a number of diseases such as glaucoma or cataracts. Get beta carotene from your diet with fruits and vegetables including: peaches, squash, apricots, carrots and oranges.
Meanwhile consumption of antioxidants can also help to maintain eye health by preventing oxidative damage – though this is a minor effect and this isn’t the ‘main’ role of antioxidant as it were. Vitamin C, A and E, along with essential fatty acids will serve this role. Zinc also is believed to help protect the eyes against macular degeneration.
Foods to Avoid
There are also numerous foods you should seek to avoid. Foods high in sugar for one should be avoided as these can cause nerve damage and potentially lead to diabetes – one of the symptoms of which is vision loss.
It is also important to avoid foods that are too high in saturated fats which can cause poor circulation and thus lead to eye damage that way. Foods high in salt have been shown to increase the chances of forming cataracts.
As ever then, there is no secret formula to protecting your eye health through diet – it’s just a matter of avoiding bad fats and sugar and of getting your vegetables – all things you should already be doing. Just make sure to get lots of beta carotene as well.
"It is also important to avoid foods that are too high in saturated fats which can cause poor circulation and thus lead to eye damage that way."
"However, a recent analysis of published trial data shows that replacing saturated fats and trans fatty acids with omega 6 fatty acids, without a corresponding rise in omega 3 fatty acids, seems to increase the risk of death from coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases."
"We need a public health campaign as strong as the one we had in the 70s and 80s demonising saturated fats, to say that we got it wrong."