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Eye Health & Your Diet

What you use to fuel your body defines how it will perform. While fads for special diet and exercise regimens come and go, the bedrock of proper health care remains nutrition. While this applies to every facet of your well-being, it is especially critical to the health of your eyes.

Vitamins, Minerals and Where to Find Them

Vitamins and minerals important to eye health include:

1) Vitamin C

2) Vitamin E

3) Lutein

4) Zeaxanthin

5) Beta-carotene

6) Zinc

7) Omega-3 fatty acids

Adequate amounts of these vital nutrients help prevent macular degeneration, cataracts, retinopathy and other eye diseases. (Read our Top Seven Super Foods for Your Eye Health post for additional information.)

Experts agree that a healthy diet with balanced and varied nutrition will work to provide these important nutrients and keep the eyes and the body healthy and functioning as well as possible.

Here’s a short list of foods to focus on. (Pun intended!)

1) Leafy greens like spinach and kale

2) Vegetables like peppers, squash, broccoli and carrots

3) Oily fish like salmon and tuna

4) Protein sources like nuts, beans, soy and eggs

5) Fruit like citrus and berries

An Ounce of Prevention…

Good nutrition not only keeps eyes healthy — it also helps prevent the onset of diseases and conditions that can damage your eyes. Diabetes is one example. A healthy diet can lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, therefore avoiding the leading cause of blindness in adults. Another example is high blood pressure, which can damage blood vessels in the eyes and throughout the entire body.

Regular exercise provides benefits that the best nutrition cannot, such as maintaining bone strength and cardiovascular health. So, in addition to working to include varied healthy food sources every day, it makes sense to make exercise as easy as possible to fit in to each day. One way to do this is to seek out cardiovascular and strength workouts that are convenient and enjoyable. Another is to schedule them into the day at times when energy is highest. Also, consider how to make exercise flow seamlessly into your routine. Perhaps it’s as simple as packing your gym bag each evening to grab during the morning rush.

Whatever choices you make to add healthy nutrition and exercise regular, enjoyable parts of your daily life — your eyes will thank you!