Column: Foods for your eye health
Commentary by Dr. Matt Clark of Carmel Eyecare
Optometry patients who receive a clean bill of health frequently reply, “Good, I’ve been eating my carrots!” While carrots are a wonderful source of Vitamin A, these four foods are more likely to promote strong ocular health:
- Kale and spinach – These leafy vegetables are rich in vital nutrients for your eyes. They are the leading source of nutrients called lutein and zeaxanthin. These molecules, called carotenoids, act as retinal pigment and protect your eyes from harmful blue light. Carotenoids have been proven to reduce risk of macular degeneration and recent studies have shown they may even improve your night vision! These nutrients, along with Vitamins A and C, place spinach and kale at the top of my list of foods your eyes crave. Sauté the greens with olive oil to help your body absorb these splendid fat-soluble nutrients.
- Salmon – Salmon is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids called DHA and EPA, which improve the quantity and the quality of your tears. If you suffer from dry, irritated eyes, grab some tasty salmon filets on your next grocery run. As an added benefit, they are wonderful for your cardiovascular health and may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Almonds – Bursting with Vitamin E, another important antioxidant for the eyes, almonds provide protection from macular degeneration and cataracts, two of the leading causes of vision loss in the United States. Almonds also reduce the risk of heart disease and are great for your skin.
Carrots are great, but make sure your plate also includes these delicious foods. At your next annual eye exam, when your eye doctor tells you everything looks good, tell him or her, “Great! I’ve been eating my carotenoids and Omega-3s!” They’ll be impressed.
Dr. Matthew Clark, O.D., works at Carmel Eyecare. For more, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.