Food for Thought: Improving Vision with Food

improving vision with foodGive yourself the ultimate gift this upcoming holiday season: better eyesight.

The eyes and the stomach have long had a contentious relationship. If someone’s eyes are bigger than his or her stomach (metaphorically, of course), then that person is guaranteed to suffer quite the stomach ache later in the meal.

This relationship, however, can be repaired, as the stomach can make one’s eyes better.

Take the myriad feasting and eating opportunities this holiday season to strengthen your eyesight with all the right foods and cooking ingredients. Those of us at Southlands Vision Associates LLC want you to enjoy the snowy season with crystal clarity.

Improving vision by eating the following four types of food:

improving vision carrotsCarrots

No compilation of vision-friendly foods would be complete without the famed carrot. And it’s reputation serves it right; the carrot is excellent for the eyes.

The carrot is bursting with a type of vitamin A called “beta-carotene.” This nutrient, which is also responsible for making the carrot a bright orange, aids the retina and other parts of the eye.

Toss some carrots into a stew, eat them as a side dish, or bake them into a scrumptious carrot cake dessert.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Older relatives telling younger folks to eat their vegetables had great foresight, if not great regular sight as well.

Vegetables of the leafy and green variety are rich with health benefits, and that includes some for the eyes. Two powerhouse antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, greatly lower the odds of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.

“They get into the lens and retina of your eye, and they are believed to absorb damaging visible light,” says Elizabeth J. Johnson, PhD, a research scientist at Tufts University in Boston.

green leafy vegetablesThese antioxidants run rich in leafy greens such as:

And even non-leafy greens including:

We recommend treating yourself (and others, if you’re the family cook) to a delicious spinach and kale salad. All vegetables come with innumerable nutrients, so you’ll be helping out more than just your eyes. For the pickier crew, even fruit salads provide these invaluable antioxidants.

Otherwise, you can use these items as side dishes too.

Almonds and Other Nuts

improving vision nutsVitamin C is the go-to vitamin for colds, and everyone loves vitamin D because getting it is an excuse to go to the beach.

Don’t be shortsighted, however, and ignore vitamin E.

Present most prominently in almonds, pecans, peanuts, and other nuts, vitamin E also slows AMD. Unfortunately, most people don’t get their daily required dose of the nutrient.

A simple handful of nuts takes care of half your daily expected dose of vitamin E. They’re great for snacking, and make wonderful garnishes for almost any dish. Remember the salad from earlier? Throw on some peanuts on it or add some wheat germ oil into the dressing.

Berries, Citrus, and Other Bright Fruits

fruitDespite overshadowing vitamin E, the popular vitamin C is also a phenomenal nutrient for eye health.

As a premier antioxidant, vitamin C also slows the onset of AMD and cataracts. Though it’s present in many fruits, we recommend seeking it out in the ones where its most rich. Such options include strawberries, oranges, and grapefruit. These items are much more popular for eating straight or cooking, unlike other vitamin C rich foods including brussel sprouts.

A sumptuous smoothie or flavorful fruit pie are pretty much guaranteed to satisfy both your eyes and taste buds at the same time.

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