You've probably known from a young age that carrots are good for your eyes. Carrots are high in Vitamin A, which is essential for vision. But bingeing on carrots won't magically improve your eyesight. And we have a WWII propaganda campaign to thank for that myth – the British government claimed that carrots helped their pilots see in the dark in a bid to send the Germans on a wild goose chase. The carrot craze continued in England, with wartime posters claiming that carrots would help people see during blackouts!
So while carrots are pretty great to eat, there are plenty of other foods that will help with healthy eyes.
1. Spinach (and other leafy greens)
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kailan and caixin are full of antioxidants, in particular lutein and zeaxanthin, that help protect the eyes against age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of irreversible blindness.
Eggs also contain both lutein and zeaxanthin, and scientists say that the body is better able to absorb these antioxidants from eggs than vegetables. Besides, eggs also contain plenty of zinc, and zinc deficiency has been linked to impaired vision and cloudy cataracts. Other sources of zinc include tofu, red meat, seafood, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.
3. Fatty Fish Like Salmon
Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) are known to keep your heart and brain healthy but they may also help lower the risk of glaucoma and macular degeneration. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions resulting in optic nerve damage, which may cause vision loss. DHA concentrates in the retina, which is the light-sensing tissue that lines the back of the eye, and may prevent plaque from forming there. Scientists have also found that omega-3 fats may help reduce dry-eye symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and it is recommended that you eat fish at least twice a week.
4. Go Nuts
If you’re not into fish, walnuts are a great source of omega-3s. Pistachios are the next best nut source of fatty acids. Almonds, like many other types of nuts, are also rich in Vitamin E which help protect against the formation of cataracts. A handful of nuts a day make for a tasty and healthy snack.
5. Green Tea
Researchers have also found that catechins or disease-fighting antioxidants in green tea may help protect the eyes from glaucoma. Tests in Hong Kong have shown that these antioxidants in green tea can be absorbed into the tissues of the eye. Plus, cold tea bags can help soothe puffy eyes. Place the tea bags in the refrigerator until cold, gently squeeze out excess liquid then place the tea bags over your eyes for about 15 minutes and relax.
6. Orange Produce
Think colour at your next meal – orange fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, mangoes, apricots, red peppers, sweet potatoes liven up your plate and boost the Vitamin A in your diet.