The eyes are a very delicate and sensitive organ. Your eyes constantly work long hours without any complaint. With aging or due genetic factors, your eyes may become weaker and have problems. According to WHO, over 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision. And 82% of people with blindness are aged 50 years or above. Your eyes certainly deserve lots of attention and care, especially as you grow older. With proper care and by eating rightly balanced eye healthy foods, you can keep your eyes healthy and beautiful, even when you are growing older.
There are various parts in the eyes like cornea, macula, pupil, retina, iris, lens, optic nerves and also blood vessels. All these various delicate parts are susceptible to get weaker and also to infections. Even a little dust or pollution can cause irritation in the eyes, and in severe cases, there may be chances of eye infections.
Problems like macular degeneration and cataracts are very common in older age. In order to prevent these eye problems, you got to take care and eat well balanced eyes healthy foods.
9 foods that help keep your eyes healthy
Dr Hannah Bartlett of Aston University in Birmingham says that “some studies suggest that maintaining a healthy diet, including oily fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables in your meals could reduce your eye disease risk in the future”. Foods which are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc etc are good for your eyes health and beauty. It’s better to replace food supplements, readymade and packaged foods with fresh fruits and green vegetables for it helps keep your eyes healthy.
Here are some of the best foods you should include in your diet to keep your eyes healthy, even when you are ageing.
1. Citrus Fruits
All types of citrus fruits including oranges, grapes, tangerines or lemons are rich in beta carotenes, Vitamin C and vitamin A, which promotes eye health. Eyes are often affected due to the exposure to the sun, pollution and straining of eyes due to work. Vitamin A referred as retinol is beneficial for your retina and helps in preventing glaucoma and cataracts in the long run. Consume it fresh or in the form of juice or smoothies, the citrus fruits help in keeping your eyes healthy. And not only eyes, citrus fruits are also great for your skin and hair.
2. Egg Yolks
The egg yolks contain an antioxidant called lutein and also a compound named zeaxanthin. Compounds of class carotenoids protect the eyes from macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a common problem for the age about 65 years old. Consuming luteins with olive oil is more effective and also if the yolk is half cooked. Have one yolk daily for taking care of your eye health.
3. Spinach and other green vegetables
Lutein and zeaxanthin are called macular pigments which are good for your eyes. Like eggs, spinach and other green vegetables like broccoli, kale, lettuce and peas are also good for your eyes because these foods are all rich in macular pigments. Do not deep fry or over cook these vegetables then the nutrients will be lost. It is best to have them raw but in case you cannot eat them raw you can boil them a little bit and then add some olive oil for garnishing and also better taste.
Carrots are rich in lutein and beta carotenes which are converted to vitamin A by the body. Blindness, cataracts and majority of the eye problems are caused due to the deficiency of vitamin A. Hence eating foods like carrots, orange, pumpkin etc which are good source of beta carotenes and vitamin A helps you keep your eyes healthy.
5. Sunflower seeds
In order to keep your eye healthy and free from common eye diseases, you should eat sunflower seeds. Consumption of Vitamin E and zinc can help you to prevent cataracts and sunflower seeds are good source of vitamin E and Zinc.
6. Almonds and Nuts
Almonds are healthy nuts which contain Vitamin B17 and vitamin E. Most of the nuts, including almonds also have antioxidant properties and that combination makes it the best food for your eyes. These vitamins can help you to get rid of the common eye problems including cataracts and macular degeneration. The immunity of the eyes will also increase if you just take one handful of almonds every day.
Research in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry found out that the corn is rich in zeaxanthin and also lutein and the longer you cook the corn the higher will be the level of luteins in the corns. You can add the corn in your soups and casseroles and relish this vegetable.
8. Kidney beans
Beans contribute to the levels of sugar in the blood, thus reducing the risk of inflammation and cell damage. The red colour of the kidney beans shows that they are rich in anthocyanins which shield against the diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.
9. Oily Fish
Oily fishes contain DHA or docosahexaenoic acid and omega-3 fatty acids which take care of retina and pupil of your eyes. Studies suggest that having oily fishes in daily diet reduce the risks of macular degeneration with time.
Having well balanced meals is crucial for your body and health, and your eyes are no exception to this. But eyes are very delicate and apart from balanced meal, it needs additional care.
Eye care tips to keep your eyes healthy and beautiful
Besides having the daily diet consisting of eye healthy foods mentioned above, there are certain eye care tips that you can also add in your daily routine. These habits will not only prevent the minor eye infections but also strengthen your eyes in future. Let us have a look at some of these eye care tips.
- Start the 20-20 rule today and give some relief to your eyes. If your work requires you to look at the monitor for long hours then you can start this rule today. After looking at the computer screen for 20 minutes, look away from the screen for 20 seconds, or you can even close your eyes for 20 seconds, or look at an object 20 feet away from you.
- Remain hydrated so that your eyes do not become dry. Drink lots of water during the day and also wash your eyes with cold water at some regular intervals. You must wash your eyes 3-4 times at least daily.
- Eye clearing eye drops are also available in the market. These eye drops are for regular sue so that your eyes can be cleaned properly at the end of the day. The air outside is highly polluted so you must take these measures. Consult an eye doctor and use these drops at night before going to bed.
- Wearing contact lens is useful as your eyes are protected by the contact lens, and this kind of protection is practically impossible while you are wearing specs.
- If you are wearing an eye makeup, then it is mandatory that you wash it off before going to bed.
- Rub your palms together until they feel warm. Then keep the palm on your eyes, the warmth of your palms will soothe your eyes.
- Take a tissue paper and give vapor from your mouth. The warm tissue paper can be kept on your eyes for few minutes. It will give relief to your eyes.
- Cut a round slice of cucumber and keep the pieces on both the eyes. This watery vegetable can dehydrate the eyes and also help you to get rid of the dark circles.
- While wearing and taking off the contact lens it is mandatory that you wash both hands with soap, also change the eye solution regularly.
- Never wash your eyes with warm water, always use cold water or water in room temperature.
- Wear sunglasses and UV protected glasses when you are going outside.
- While working on computer, sit straight so that the screen is exactly at right angle to your eyes. This way you can prevent straining of eyes.
- Blink your eyes often as constant staring at screen can lead to dryness of the eyes.
- Quit smoking, because smoking may also be responsible for cataract.
- Avoid exposing your eye to direct ultraviolet light. Exposure to ultraviolet lights may cause cataract.
Our eyes are very delicate and it may have issues as we grow older. But with a bit of care, attention and by eating rightly balanced eye healthy foods like almonds, oily fish, spinach etc, we can prevent eye related diseases and issues.
Take proper care for your eye; eat balanced meal rich in vitamin E, fatty acid etc, to keep your eyes healthy and beautiful. How do you care for your eyes? What foods do you eat to keep your eye healthy?
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.