You can easily protect your eyes by eating more foods with “vision-friendly” nutrients. If you have a family history of either macular degeneration or cataracts, be sure to include these foods in your daily diet.
1.) Pink/Red Grapefruit: Both are rich in both vitamin C and beta carotene, which can help protect your eye health. One study followed a group of more than 4,000 people for eight years to see how diet affected the risk of macular degeneration, and found that people who ate a diet rich in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and zinc had a 35% reduced risk of developing macular degeneration compared with people who ate an average diet.
2.) Kale: Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are standouts in a family of nutrients called carotenoids because they’re the only carotenoids found in the lens of the eye. Like all antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin can defuse potentially damaging free radicals. In addition, these antioxidants are found in high concentrations in the tissue of the macula, and because they absorb 40 to 90 percent of blue light intensity, they act like sunscreen for your eyes.
3.) Tea: Has powerful antioxidants, and some research suggests that drinking relatively large amounts of it — the equivalent of about five cups daily — may help prevent or delay cataract development.
4.) Salmon: heart-healthy salmon is rich in B-vitamins and omega-3’s, both of which can help protect eyes. Salmon is particularly rich in the B-vitamin niacin; several scientific studies have shown that people who eat a diet containing plenty of foods rich in riboflavin and niacin can slash the risk of cataracts by about half.
5.) Shellfish: Clams, crab, mussels, oysters and lobster, are all rich in the mineral zinc. Zinc is important for the health of all body tissues, but it’s found in unusually high concentrations in tissues of the retina and is required for the functioning of enzymes that keep vision sharp.
6.) Quinoa: Emerging research suggests that certain foods — most notably low-quality carbohydrates like sugary foods and white refined carbs — may increase the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Switch to quinoa, brown rice, oats and whole grain bread for overall health.
7.) Sunflower Seeds: A diet full of foods rich in vitamin E, like sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, and butters made from these nuts and seeds can protect your vision.