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Vision problems are quite common, but even those with perfect vision should take care of their eyes. Although more than half of Americans wear glasses or contact lenses on a daily basis to improve their vision, those who don’t still stand a decent chance of their vision worsening gradually with time. Regular eye doctor appointments are important, as is avoiding blue light as frequently as possible, but there are even simpler ways to keep the eyes sharp.
Many commonly eaten foods are rich in vitamins and other compounds that naturally maintain and rejuvenate the eyes, ensuring healthy, unobstructed vision. Those who don’t enjoy the foods heavy in these vital nutrients can easily take vitamin supplements as well. Below are seven of the many foods, vitamins, and compounds that can help maintain healthy vision.
Orange fruits and vegetables
All orange-colored fruits and vegetables are rich in a pigment called beta-carotene. This pigment is crucial for maintaining the eyes’ ability to properly see in the dark. Sweet potatoes and carrots are particularly excellent sources of this pigment, and cantaloupes, apricots, and mangoes also have this compound in copious amounts.
Beta-carotene is one of the compounds comprising vitamin A. This crucial vitamin is vital for building a protein called rhodopsin, which works in the eyes to properly absorb light and maintain the cornea. Vitamin A is found in both animal- and plant-based foods and is available in supplement form.
Summer and winter squash
Both summer and winter squash contain the compounds lutein and zeaxanthin. Like beta-carotene, these compounds are part of a class called carotenoids, but unlike beta-carotene, the body does not convert them into vitamin A. Both these carotenoids are nevertheless vital for protecting the eyes from the high-frequency blue light that screens emit.
Egg yolks get their yellow color from the high concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin in them. Eggs also come with a bonus that inherently helps the absorption of lutein and zeaxanthin. The zinc in egg whites assists the body in absorbing vitamins, minerals, and compounds such as carotenoids.
Vitamin C is best known as an immune system booster, but it’s also crucial for good eyesight. Its antioxidant properties can protect the eyes from tissue-damaging free radicals. It is a vital component of collagen, a protein that helps to shape the cornea and sclera. Studies have also correlated high levels of vitamin C with cataract prevention. It can be taken in supplements or found in many foods.
Brussels sprouts and broccoli
Broccoli and brussels sprouts are both members of the cabbage family, so no wonder they share so much chemistry. Although the two vegetables are shaped completely differently, both their green colors come from their richness in vitamins A, C, and E. They contain both beta-carotene that converts to vitamin A and lutein and zeaxanthin that don’t.
Vitamin E is especially potent in fighting free radicals. It has been shown to slow the rate at which age-related macular degeneration (strong, permanent vision loss in people over 60 years old) occurs. It can be found in salmon, nuts, seeds, avocados, leafy green vegetables, and cooking oils. It is also available as a supplement.
What are some diet- and supplement-related steps you take to maintain your vision? Share your routine in the comments!