This may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but eating well does help keep your eyes healthy as you age. Most of us will agree that we spend the majority of our dietary commitments on other “more important” parts of our body, such as our muscles, skin, face, hair, hands, nails and feet. But as one of the most important parts of our daily function, our eyes are often at the back of the line (if they are even there at all!) Simply put, our eyes should not be taken for granted. A little attention on maintaining proper nutrition and diet for your eyes could go a long way towards maintaining healthy vision as our bodies age.
So, what kinds of foods and nutrition are good for your eyes?
Foods that are rich in vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids are the ones that you should include as part of a healthy diet, as it will help prevent age-related vision problems. Citrus fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of vitamin C are excellent sources of bioflavonoids. Meanwhile, fish is typically the go-to source for omega-3 fatty acids.
We all know about Vitamin C, but what really makes it a key component in maintaining healthy vision? If you didn’t know already, vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen.
Collagen is an important part of our eyes; it’s basically what protects our eyes and holds all layers of connective tissue together. A reduction in collagen levels (typically as we age), can lead to age-related eye problems such as cataracts. It’s important to supplement your daily intake of collagen.
Vitamin C is also well known for its antioxidant powers. Antioxidants have a wide variety of benefits such as promoting healthy cells, bones, skin and blood vessels. In particular, the blood vessels that help supply blood to various parts of your eyes, such as your retinas.
Bioflavonoids are vitamin C’s partner in the quest of defending your eyes against the forces of aging. They are typically found in vitamin C rich foods. Bioflavonoids are powerful antioxidants, which means they further help protect your cells and blood vessels in different parts of the eyes.
Fruits that are rich in vitamin C include:
- Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit)
- Strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries
Together, vitamin C and bioflavonoids act as antioxidants and help keep your eyes and body healthy. When taken together, research suggests they'll be even more effective!
Omega-3 fatty acids
In general, our eyes and body need fatty acids in order for it to function properly. Fatty acids are key components of our bodies, and are included in the functions of our nerves, organs and cells. Studies such as the one by this Harvard research have shown that regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may help protect your vision. There have been numerous other studies as well that suggest omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent eye problems later in life.
Here’s a list of foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids:
- Other types of fish such as (sardine, cod, mackerel, herring, lake trout)
If you prefer other options, nuts and seeds such as flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts are also good sources of omega-3. Plant oils are also good sources of omega-3, so incorporating a combination of these would be an excellent way to supplement your body’s omega-3 intake.