With the hot sun beating down on your eyes this summer, it’s always good to support your eyes in other ways than just wearing sunglasses. Certain foods in particular have been proven to maintain healthy eyesight and prevent painful eye conditions. Foods rich in Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc and Omega-3 all aid in increasing circulation and anti-oxidants that can help you see better for years to come.
The following list outlines five powerful foods to eat for healthy eyes as well as a recipe trick to help your kids enjoy eating them.
List of foods that benefits your eyesight
Incredibly rich in Vitamin C, broccoli is also loaded with antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin that help your eyes function properly. Known to fight off age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts, Vitamin C strengthens the structure of the eye and protects cells from everyday damage.
When preparing broccoli, avoid over cooking which can cause the vegetable’s antioxidants to lose carcinogens. Eat broccoli raw or only steam for two to three minutes to maintain its powerful punch.
If your kids are having trouble eating broccoli, try adding it to pizza as a delicious and healthy topping. Another idea is to shred the stalks and create coleslaw which can be tasty and fun to make!
Chickpeas contain loads of Vitamin E, another potent antioxidant that helps neutralize oxidation and prevent the buildup of cataracts. In the right amounts, Vitamin E effectively prevents the body against damage from free radicals, the particles inside your body that can damage cells.
Hummus, one of today’s most trends foods, is made of from ground chickpeas. Try making your own hummus at home by blending chickpeas with lemon juice and tahini. Add garlic or roasted red peppers for a delicious dip, spread or party appetizer. If hummus isn’t your thing, add chickpeas to your garden salad as an extra, eyecare enriching topping.
Vitamin E can disrupt blood clotting ability and have other negative side effects if too much is consumed. This is why it’s important to measure the amounts of intake and stick to recommended daily levels – approximately 15 mg per day for adults and children ages 14 and older.
3. Ostrich Meat
Scared by this one? Don’t be! Ostrich meat has often been rated as tastier in burgers than regular beef. Ostriches are blessed with huge levels of zinc which is found in our retina, the rear part of the eye. A mineral that helps promote the immune system, zinc assists the eye and prevents cataracts by ensuring the proper levels of blood flow.
Ostrich can be substituted for red meat in most recipes. Try getting creative with ostrich kabobs. Marinade the ostrich in honey and barbecue sauce for 24 hours before cooking. Then place the kabob on a stick with bell peppers, grilled tomato and other healthy veggies to help your eyes even more!
Most people don’t come close to consuming the recommended levels of Zinc. However, like Vitamin E, consult your doctor to understand exactly how much you should be eating. Excessive levels of zinc can suppress the immune system.
4. Omega-3 Fortified Eggs
Omega-3 has been proven to benefit the eye and several ways including help proper drainage, reduce the risk of eye pressure and decrease the risk of dry eyes. In recent tests, Omega-3 has also been found to impede the presence of toxic molecules in the eyes that cause vision loss.
Traditionally found in cold water fish, the healthy fatty acids can also be found in eggs. To reap the benefits of Omega-3, be sure to include the yoke in any of your recipes. Try using the yoke in vanilla pudding or French Toast for a healthy, tasty treat.
If you any chance are allergic to eggs and you don’t like fish, stock up on omega-3 supplements which can be found at most health and food stores. Most supplements are available in both capsule and liquid form.
The godfather of foods to benefit your eyesight, carrots are certainly the most well-known. Frankly, they deserve to be! Carrots are jam packed with beta-carotene which turns into Vitamin A when entering the body. Vitamin A in turn protects the cornea (surface of the eye), prevents dry eyes and reduces the risk of eye infections. Besides carrots, most orange vegetables like sweet potatoes and pumpkins are rich in BetaCarotene as well.
Try conquering your kids fear of carrots with tasty creamy dips like onion dip and ranch. If raw carrots with a dip or in a salad aren’t your favorite, cook the carrots for a different texture and taste. Glaze the carrots with honey and sugar to create healthy fries.
Unlike other foods known for their Vitamin A, Beta Carotene is water-soluble and easy to digest. Therefore, load up on carrots and like the doctor recommended – a carrot a day, keeps the doctor away!
When consumed properly, certain foods can be used to benefit your eye sight and prevent eye conditions that become more likely as you grow old. Cataracts, macular degeneration and other diseases can be countered with diets rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E. As kids, a healthy eye foundation can be supported with foods high in Beat Carotene and Zinc. Always try to eat a diet that includes a variety of vitamins and minerals that will aid your vision and your entire immune system
Don’t forget, your meals can still be tasty and healthy! Be creative with the health foods you don’t like the taste of. Try adding them as toppings to your favorite foods or mask the taste and texture with toppings and other ingredients. Best of all, include fruits and vegetables in desserts when possible. Blend them into shakes and smoothies to deliver the health benefits along with an excellent taste
Feel free to add your own recipes and consumption tips so we can all benefit from the health impact of eye-friendly foods.