You’ve probably heard that eating carrots is good for your eyes. While that’s indeed true, there are plenty of other foods that also promote overall wellness while providing nutrients for long-term eye health.
With that in mind, here are a few foods for eye health that pack a powerful punch, along with some recipe ideas that incorporate these ingredients.
Think spinach, kale, collard greens, chard, and mustard greens. They’re all packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, types of carotenoids—pigments that give fruits and veggies their spectrum of colors and that are full of antioxidants. Both lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of chronic eye disease, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Most leafy greens also contain vitamins A, C, and E.
Berries And Citrus Fruits
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, grapefruits and oranges all contain plenty of vitamin C. Since our bodies don’t naturally produce the vitamin, we rely on diet and supplements to get the benefits. The American Optometric Association reports that numerous studies link vitamin C intake to decreased risk of cataracts. Throw a handful on your breakfast cereal, blend in a smoothie, or add to a salad for a sweet burst of flavor.
Don’t pass up that bowl of peanuts or pistachios. In addition to all the other nutrients they provide, all nuts are packed with vitamin E. In fact, it takes only one handful of almonds to provide half of your daily vitamin E requirement. Vitamin E has been shown to protect cells in the eye, according to the American Optometric Association. It also may reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
A study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology reports that orange peppers contained the highest amount of zeaxanthin of all the fruits and veggies the researchers tested. Orange bell peppers also contain large amounts of vitamins A—including beta-carotene—and C. Plus, they’re great as a crunchy raw dipping treat or sauteed into any dish.
Fish, particularly oily fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and trout, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats promote retinal health and may help prevent dry eyes. Zinc is another important component of eye health. This essential trace mineral—found in a range of seafood—is highly concentrated in the eye, and deficiencies of zinc have been linked to poor vision, according to the AOA. Seafood also contains astaxanthin, another antioxidant that gives some seafood its reddish pigment. This super nutrient has also been shown to protect against diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.
Here’s a roundup of a few of our favorite recipes containing the above foods, to give your eyes the nutrition they need to maintain optimal health. Serve up these recipes to your family on a weeknight or bring the dishes to any get-together. These bright, colorful meals are packed with nutrients, fresh fruits, and veggies.
Savory Stuffed Peppers
The flavorful recipe features orange bell peppers, carrots, and spinach, as well as seasoned ground turkey.
Did you know dehydration can contribute to dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches? Use this smoothie to drink your daily dose of your water—and fruits and veggies—for breakfast, lunch, or that midday pick-me-up. This delicious green smoothie features spinach, carrots, chia seeds, raspberries, and mango.
Fennel & Spinach Salad with Shrimp
This tasty salad is chock-full of nutrients. Vitamin C-rich fennel adds a satisfying bite to the salad, mixed with leafy green spinach, bacon, and jumbo shrimp.
Serve this fragrant blend of orange peel, strawberries, and blueberries atop your morning oatmeal or your after-dinner ice cream.
Be sure to let us know what you think about these fun eye health recipes in the comments below! And if you liked this post, check out our eye exercises for more inspiration. Finally, no amount of healthy eating will replace regular visits to your eye doctor, so make sure you fit them into your schedule as well.