It’s said that eating carrots can improve vision. Is this an old wives’ tale, or is there some truth to the saying? The fact is there are many foods that provide nutrients vital to good eye health.
Carrots do, in fact, contain nutrients that can improve eyesight. They are high in beta carotene, which is made into Vitamin A when processed by the liver. Vitamin A protects the retinas and can improve night vision. Other foods that contain beta carotene are sweet potatoes, squash, and broccoli. Sources of Vitamin A include milk, eggs, cheese, and liver.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the blood vessels of the eyes from free radicals, which can cause cancers and other health problems. Watermelon, apricots, papaya, and guava also contain lycopene. There are foods rich in other antioxidants as well, which have many of the same effects. These include cranberries, blueberries, green tea, and dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants it contains. Try to find chocolate that is at least 60% cocoa for best results.
Vitamin C is important to optimal eye health. This is found in oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, sweet and chili peppers, broccoli, kale, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables.
Chromium and zinc are trace minerals that may improve vision. Beef, oysters, peppers, apples, spinach, and bananas have high levels of chromium. Zinc can be found in eggs, poultry, red meat, and oysters.
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to prevent retinal deterioration. Salmon is also high in vitamins A and D. Eggs are another food that contains fatty acids, as well as lutein, B vitamins, and zinc. Onions and garlic are full of sulfur, and can improve the blood flow in the vessels around the eyes.
By combining many of these foods, you can get a large dose of vision-enhancing vitamins and minerals. An omelet made with eggs, cheese, tomatoes, spinach, peppers, and garlic, for example, provides zinc, fatty acids, vitamin A, lycopene, chromium, and vitamin C. Enjoy a glass of orange juice, a slice of watermelon, or some strawberries on the side for the extra vitamin C. A salad full of leafy greens with tomatoes and carrots contains vitamin C, lycopene, and beta carotene. Have some salmon along with your salad for the healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Following this with a cup of green tea and a square of dark chocolate will provide a big dose of antioxidants. All of these vitamins and minerals can work together to prevent eye diseases, protect the blood vessels, and improve your night vision.
For the most part, eating well for good eye health is synonymous with eating well for good overall health. All of the vitamins and minerals that your eyes need are also needed by the rest of your body. These vitamins also work together for optimal absorption by the various organs of the body. Eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meats can go a long way toward preserving and improving your vision.