The Six Foods That are Best
at Helping You
Get and Keep Healthy Vision
Your eyes are your window to the world, so protecting them
is likely one of your top priorities. One of the best ways
to keep your eyes healthy as you age is to include vision-friendly
foods in your daily diet.
Egg yolks have gotten a bad reputation for being high
in cholesterol, but if you only eat egg whites, you're
missing out on some of the healthiest nutrients for
And contrary to popular belief, carrots
are far from the only food out there that is good for your
The following foods will not only help to nourish and support
your eyes as you age, but many of them can also help to reduce
your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration -- the world's
leading cause of blindness.
1. Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are the best source of lutein, a yellow-hued
antioxidant. One of lutein's most talked about qualities
is its ability to protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Lutein (along with zeaxanthin, another carotenoid) forms
the yellow pigment of your retina and absorbs blue light,
a harmful component of sunlight, says Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.
Researchers also suspect that lutein's antioxidant actions
help to protect your eyes from light-induced oxidative damage.
Lutein is also found in vegetables, especially green leafy
ones, but when 10 volunteers ate different sources of lutein
(spinach, eggs or one of two types of lutein supplements)
eggs came out on top. Those who ate eggs as their lutein source
had blood levels of lutein that were about three times higher
than that of those who ate other lutein sources.
The researchers suspect that other components in the egg
yolk, such as lecithin, are responsible for its superior absorbability.
2. Brazil Nuts
One Brazil nut contains 120 mcg of selenium, which is about
twice the Recommended Daily Allowance. Why is this a good
thing? Because selenium's
antioxidant activity fights free radicals that may damage
your eye's lens and macula at the center of your retina. This
may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
3. Blueberries (and Other Berries)
Blueberries contain anthocyanins, potent antioxidants that
give fruits their red and purple color. Because of this, blueberries
can help to prevent age-related damage and improve blood flow
to your eyes. Anthocyanins also strengthen blood vessel walls,
which can slow the development of diabetic retinopathy.
The blueberry is quite possibly the healthiest fruit
there is -- it ranked number one in antioxidant capacity
by researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Center when
compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables.
Aside from blueberries, cherries, red grape, pomegranates,
red cabbage, and beets also contain high levels of anthocyanins.
Salmon and other oily fish like sardines, herring, and black
cod are rich in omega-3 fats. A study from Harvard Medical
School found that people who eat fish twice a week while avoiding
unhealthy fats like trans
fats have less than half the risk of developing macular
degeneration as people who do neither. Meanwhile, omega-3
fats help protect light-sensing cells and are linked to a
lower risk of cataracts.
When eating fish, be careful to choose wild, low-mercury
varieties. As an alternative, you can take a high-quality,
animal-based omega-3 supplement, such as fish oil.
One serving of papaya
will give you close to a three-day supply of vitamin C, which
is one reason why papaya has been found to protect against
macular degeneration. According to a 2001 study by the National
Institutes of Health, people with macular degeneration could
slow the disease by getting 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of
vitamin E, and 80 mg of zinc every day.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting compound
that's also a powerful antioxidant. According to researchers
at Johns Hopkins University, human retinal cells treated with
sulforaphane were protected from oxidizing free radicals for
Not a fan of broccoli? Don't worry, other cruciferous
veggies like cabbage, kale, mustard greens and turnips
are also rich in sulforaphane.
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