Improve Your Vision With These 5 Superfoods for Eye Health

By on February 1, 2016
5 Superfoods for Better Vision and Eye Health

If you thought blurred vision and difficulty reading close up were inevitable consequences of growing older, you may be surprised to learn that a group of key foods can make a significant difference in your eye health and visual performance. Eating a diet that includes two powerful antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin, can improve vision loss associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness and poor vision in adults over 50, according to the American Optometric Association.

Researchers found that consuming foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can help reduce the risk of developing AMD by as much as 35 percent, according to this study. These antioxidants make up our macular pigment, which is responsible for helping us see clearly, discern objects from their background, and provide light sensitivity and recovery from temporary blindness when our eyes are exposed to intense light.

“Lutein and zeaxanthin act as ‘internal sunglasses,’ providing protection against damaging light,” says Stuart Richer, OD, PhD.

natural sunscreen with zinc oxide

An estimated 15 million Americans have AMD, and the National Eye Institute says that number is expected to double by 2020. Women are more likely than men to experience vision loss, making up 65 percent of AMD cases, compared to 35 percent of men. You’re also more likely to develop AMD if you have a family history, light skin and eyes, consume a poor diet, have a high body mass index (BMI), or smoke.

Although there isn’t a recommended daily intake for either antioxidant, studies show that 10 mg a day of lutein and 2 mg a day of zeaxanthin will provide health benefits for your eyes.

While the following five superfoods contain the antioxidants we need, most of us don’t consume sufficient amounts of them, according to the American Optometric Association. That’s why it pays to add a lutein and zeaxanthin supplement to your diet.

  1. Leafy greens. Leafy greens, including spinach, kale, collard, and turnip greens, are abundant sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, containing up to 23.8 mg per cup.
  2. Whole eggs. One egg yolk contains .25 mg of highly absorbable lutein and is a great source of the antioxidant.
  3. Corn. Cooked corn is loaded with antioxidants and contains 2.2 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin per cup.
  4. Broccoli. Adding a cup of cooked florets to your dinner plate offers 2 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin.
  5. Carrots. You’ve probably heard that carrots protect vision, but it isn’t just because they contain beta-carotene; a cup of carrots also provides 1.1 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin.

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About Vanessa Sheets

Vanessa Sheets is a freelance journalist who specializes in fitness, health, and nutrition. She has written for True North, Natural Child, Newport Health, and Greenmaple Wellness and worked in public health as a community educator for a non-profit. She lives in Bend, Oregon.


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Improve Your Vision With These 5 Superfoods for Eye Health