We’ve all heard of eating fiber for a healthy digestive system, vegetables for essential vitamins and calcium-rich dairy products for our bones and teeth. But have you ever considered what you should be eating for healthy eyes?
There are so many pieces of dietary information out there, and often various pieces of advice seem to contradict one another. Take the chocolate argument: whilst sugars in excess are bad for us, recent research has shown that a piece of chocolate a day may help reduce the risk of heart problems. Here is my guide to the best foods for eye health (and none of them are contradictory, I promise!)
Kale, spinach and greens
Green vegetables are rich in iron and contain lutein – a powerful antioxidant which has been proven to lower the risk of development of macular degeneration in the eyes (which can also develop with age). You will find lutein in kale, spinach, cabbage, peas and other green vegetables.
How to eat it: Green vegetables are great when steamed and served with a simple meat and potato combination. If you overcook green vegetables, they lose their taste and iron levels, so ensure you only steam them for a few minutes. If you are not a fan of green vegetables, why not add them to sauces and soups to disguise them slightly whilst getting the same amount of goodness from them.
Okay, so it has long been a phrase passed through generations: carrots help you see in the dark. Whilst not strictly true in the simplest form of the claim, carrots can indeed help your eyes as they contain Beta Carotene which the body can turn into vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for our eyes as without it we could end up with something called night blindness, meaning we wouldn’t be able to see in low light levels. In fact, most orange fruit and vegetables are high in Beta Carotene, so are a great food for eye health.
How to eat it: Try some raw carrots grated over a salad of lettuce and tomato. In winter, stews are great for an on-pot supper, put chunks of carrots in the pan and allow it to cook for a few hours on a low heat.
The key with any dietary advice is to enjoy foods in moderation. Too much of anything can be bad for you, so ensure you keep to a varied diet full of grains, fruit and vegetables, meat and fish.