Fewer older Americans are developing macular degeneration – a major case of vision loss and even blindness in older men and women. A healthier diet, including leafy green vegetables and fish, could be one of the factors responsible for the decrease – from 9.4% to 6.5% in the prevalence of the 3 disease among people over the age of 40.
The antioxidants and nutrients that are linked to lower eye ailments include lutien, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins C and E.
Foods, rich in these protective substances, appear to make the difference when it comes to eye health.
1. Spinach. The King of the green leafies! A diet rich in spinach helps shield the center of the retina.
2. Salmon. Cold water fish like salmon, sardines, and albacore tuna are the best fish to eat for the health of the back of the eye. Omega-3 fatty acid is found in all of these fish.
3. Walnuts. Walnuts are the best nut source of omega-3s. Pistachios are a close second. These are full of antioxidants and vitamin E, which work to combat inflammation and preserve cardiovascular health. Having a handful of walnuts a day can cut your risk of a cardiac event by as much as 50%.
4. Berries. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries and even grapes are outstanding foods for protecting cardiovascular health. These fruits are great for lowering both inflammation and blood pressure.
5. Orange Bell Peppers. These peppers are the best dietary source of zeaxanthin, the other carotenoid that concentrates in the back of the eye. These peppers have a lot of vitamin C and more zeaxanthin per mouthful than any food on the planet.
6. Broccoli. Broccoli activates anti-inflammatory enzymes in the body and acts to encourage detoxification. Broccoli also triggers anti-inflammatory systems.
7. Tea. Green tea, black tea and oolong tea are best for preventing cataracts. Teas may help prevent macular degeneration, too, by preventing the growth of new blood vessels beneath the eye.
8. Soy. Especially soy milk & soy sauce are rich in properties that protect against cataract formation. Soy may also help restore tear production that’s been reduced by dry eye syndrome.
9. Eggs. Eggs contain the omega-3 fatty acid DHA and are the most readily available source of zeaxanthin. An egg per day for most people, unless you have diabetes, is excellent eye food.
10. Avocados. Avocados are one of the most nutrient-rich fruits we eat, so it’s no wonder they’re great for eyes. They’re also a great source of other important eye nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. These vitamins place avocados among the top-10 eye foods.
Source: AARP March 2011