For Healthy Eyes Enjoy Foods High in Antioxidants and Key Minerals

Recognizing National Nutrition Month, March 2011

Nutrition and Eye care

Nutritionists and health experts frequently remind Americans about the importance of consuming foods high in antioxidants and key minerals to enhance health. But did you know that these foods also can improve the health of your eyes and lower the risk of eye diseases?

Consider consuming foods with antioxidants rich in Vitamin A, C, D and E, beta-carotene, bioflavonoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, and Omega-3 fatty acids:

Vitamin A – helps prevent night blindness by helping the eye adjust between bright light and darkness and assists in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration; contained in foods made from animals, such as liver and eggs, milk and in fruits and vegetables, including apricots, peaches, peas, sweet potatoes, red peppers, kale, carrots and spinach

Vitamin C – helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts; usually found in citrus fruits, papayas, orange juice, green peppers, strawberries, broccoli, red chili peppers and sweet potatoes

Vitamin D – believed to help reduce the risk of macular degeneration; found in salmon, sardines, mackerel, milk, and some orange juice products

Vitamin E – associated with the prevention of cataracts and the delay of cataract growth; commonly found in seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables and fortified products, such as cereal

Beta-carotene – may help protect against night blindness and dry eyes; contained in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and butternut squash

Bioflavonoids – help to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration; commonly found in tea, red wine, citrus fruits, bilberries, blueberries, cherries, legumes and soy products

Lutein and Zeaxanthin – may prevent cataracts and macular degeneration; found in spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens and squash

Omega-3 fatty acids – believed to help prevent macular degeneration and dry eyes; frequently found in cold-water fish, flaxseed oil and fish oil, ground flaxseeds and walnuts

Minerals – Selenium and Zinc – assist the body in absorbing antioxidants important to the prevention of eye diseases; selenium is found in walnuts, enriched breads, pasta and rice, macaroni and cheese; zinc is usually present in cheese, yogurt, red meat, pork and some fortified cereals

How often do you enjoy foods rich in antioxidants? Which of these foods are your favorites? – Ken VanCleave, Ameritas Group