Recent research provides a good look at eye health. And guess what? It doesn’t look that different from heart, metabolic, or brain health.
A new piece of research published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology has found a close association between an unhealthy “western” diet and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of vision impairment in Americans 65 and older.
Researchers found that people who ate a Western-style diet high in refined grains, processed foods, sugary beverages, and red meat were three times more likely to acquire late AMD than those who ate a “prudent,” or healthy diet. A healthful diet would include plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, resembling something like the Mediterranean diet.
Nutrient-dense foods feature vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds that promote cell integrity in your organs, limit inflammation, and generally provide anti-aging capabilities. This appears to be true whether we’re talking about your heart, liver, pancreas, or eyes.
A nutrient-dense diet may do more for your eyes than protect them from AMD, which damages central vision and makes it hard to see objects, read, and drive. There is also evidence to suggest a nutritious diet can prevent or delay the onset of eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma.
So, when it comes to healthy eyes, this is what you’ll want to see in your fridge and on your plate:
- Leafy greens: Full vitamin C, as well as eye-friendly carotenoid antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Nuts and legumes: Are high in vitamin E, which is known to protect eyes from age-related damage. They are also a good source of omega-3s.
- Fatty fish: Rich omega-3 fatty acids that are associated with eye health.
- Citrus fruits
- Sweet potato
- Beef: Rich in zinc, which is associated with eye health and protection from age-related sight loss.
All of these foods offer valuable nutrition that keep your eyes healthy. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and more can all help you maintain vision. Limit processed foods and save your body and your eyes.