For improved eye health, take a closer look at your grocery list.

Guest Post By: Bryton Ashman, Dominican University Nutrition and Dietetics Student


Our eyes are one of the most fascinating and complex parts of the body. We rely on them for nearly every moment of our waking lives. Their use is uniquely personal as we capture moments navigating through life, share intimate moments with family and friends, and process the relationship we have with our surroundings. Yet, despite all this, we often take our eyes for granted until problems arise. Preventative eye care may seem like a step in the dark, but it may be a lot easier than you think. One solution to keep the “windows of the soul” pristine starts with a trip to your local supermarket. Many familiar foods have properties which are beneficial to the eyes, allowing you to envision a bright future well into your wiser years. Feast your eyes upon these seven everyday foods with eye-popping health benefits:

#1 Oranges:
Rich in vitamin C, oranges are beneficial to eyes due to their antioxidant properties. As your eyes take in the beautiful world around you, you are also unfortunately exposed to some pretty ugly stuff, as well. Damaging UV rays from sunlight and properties called free radicals negatively affect vision overtime. However, the vitamin C found in a juicy orange washes away those harmful components leaving your vision crystal clear.

#2 Blueberries:
Blueberries are another food that packs an antioxidant punch, turning those free radicals “black and blue.” Also, blueberries are a great source of zinc, a major component in eye-health supplements brought to light by the ground-breaking AREDS study.

#3 and #4 Kale and Spinach:
Dark, leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, are natural sources containing two properties beneficial to the eyes, lutein and zeaxanthin. Both help to build the eye and filter out damaging light rays. They also help protect the eyes from the effect of those nasty free radicals. Think of these components as a fresh pair of sunglasses, blocking out harmful rays of sunlight while keeping vision clear.

#5 Red Bell Peppers:
Composed of vitamin C and two other major antioxidant sources, vitamin E (great for the nerves) and A (great for the lens), red bell peppers are valuable to eyesight despite their color being synonymous with bad photos. One red bell pepper actually has twice the amount of vitamin C than an orange!

#6 Sweet Potato:
Commonly confused with yams, there is no confusion to the sweet potato’s eye-health benefits. One sweet potato can provide over 400% of your daily vitamin A needs, while also providing excellent sources of vitamin C and E. Definitely do not over-look this one!

#7 Pistachio:
In common with dark leafy greens, pistachios also contain integral components for eye structure, lutein and zeaxanthin, which keep the protective barrier of the eye as strong and durable as their shell. They also fight those pesky free radicals with vitamin E.

 

For recipe ideas using these seven eye-healthy foods, focus your attention on the Eat Healthy Homemade Meals app – available for FREE download on iTunes and at the Google Play Store. Your eyes will thank you.

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Jodie
Jodie

Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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