Our eyes are one of our biggest assets. Once lost, your vision cannot be replaced, so it’s imperative that you do all you can to protect the vision that you have now. Nature has provided superfoods that do just that.
Below are five or more superfoods that keep your vision from deteriorating and make vision sharper, including spinach, bell peppers, sunflower seeds, asparagus and sweet potatoes.
Nutritional Protection for Your Eyes
Spinach is considered a superfood because of its rich supply of lutein. Lutein is an antioxidant that helps fight cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye that leads to progressive blindness) and macular degeneration (age-related damage to the central region of the retina) by protecting the eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. These are all conditions without any known cure, but some foods can slow down the rate at which they progress and the severity of damage.
Besides spinach, other foods that serve as buffers against eye diseases include bell peppers, sunflower seeds, asparagus and sweet potatoes.
Bell peppers of any color are also rich in lutein, as well as vitamin C. Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant that may help lower your risk for developing cataracts and macular degeneration by protecting cells from free radical damage.
Free radicals are harmful molecules that can cause oxidative damage to cells in the body, leading to all types of diseases and a breakdown of the immune system. Other good sources of lutein and vitamin C (an exceptional combination) are summer squash, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale and brussel sprouts. A half cup of any of these foods several days a week is recommended.
Sunflower seeds are proven sources of the B vitamin niacin, which helps prevent cataracts by promoting blood vessel health. When blood vessels are healthy, clear and strong, blood circulation to the eyes improves. Sunflower seeds also contain the mineral zinc, which is crucial for retinal health.
Unsalted sunflower seeds (a quarter cup of shelled seeds or 1-2 tablespoons of unshelled seeds) are recommended as a daily protection for your eyes. Unshelled seeds are commonly used in salads or as a fruit topping for a great snack.
Asparagus is another source of lutein, as well as vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage that may particularly affect the eyes. One serving (about 8 spears) of asparagus twice a week is recommended.
Sweet potatoes contain lots of beta-carotene, as is evident by their deep orange color. Beta-carotene may help reduce the risk for macular degeneration by also curbing free radical damage. A half cup a day of other orange fruits and vegetables like carrots, cantaloupe, apricots and oranges will go a long way in protecting those peepers.