Before I get into the best foods for eye health, let’s take a minute to understand how remarkable the eye is. Because of its incredible high precision and performance, the eye is one of the most amazing organs in the body.
All of the muscles of the eye are in constant movement to carry out three simultaneous functions necessary for vision:
- Exploration of the field of vision,
- Opening and closing of the pupil according to the light available
- Modification of the curve of the lens of the eye according to the distance of the viewed object, thus bringing it into sharp focus.
At the same time, it is performing all of these tasks, the eye continuously sends information to the brain through the optic nerve. It is calculated that while awake, the million or so nerve cells that form the retina send information to the brain at a rate equivalent to 100 Mb per second. Today only the fastest computer networks can match this transmission speed.
Best Foods For Eye Health
To carry out all of these complex functions, the eye only needs a small amount of oxygen and a few other substances found in foods such as these:
VITAMIN A: This is necessary for the formation of rhodopsin, the light-sensitive pigment found in the cells of the retina. It is also necessary for maintaining the conjunctiva (the anterior membrane of the eye) moist and in good condition.
CAROTENOIDS: Important on the list of best foods for eye health because they’re natural dyes found in plant-based foods. They act as antioxidants and help prevent macular degeneration of the retina.
VITAMINS C AND E: These are also antioxidants found almost exclusively in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grain germ. Their lack leads to cataracts and vision loss.
APRICOT: The consumption of apricots maintains vision in good condition and gives the sparkle and beauty to the eyes that are characteristic of good health. This is not due exclusively to the action of provitamin A, but also to the combined action of other vitamins and minerals that accompany it.
Apricots are recommended in cases of conjunctival dryness, chronic irritation or itching of the conjunctiva, loss of visual acuity due to retinal atrophy, and night blindness.
CARROT: Carrots are an oldie but goodie. This vegetable is probably one of the most known best foods for eye health. They’re very useful in diseases of the retina and of the eyes in general, skin disorders, gastritis, excess of gastric acid, colitis, and in the prevention of cancer.
SPINACH: Spinach made on this list of best foods for eye health because of its ability to aid with retinal disorders. The macula is a small yellow spot about two millimeters across found in the center of the retina. It corresponds to the area of the highest visual acuity. The degeneration of this particularly sensitive area of the retina is the primary cause of blindness among the elderly.
A very precise investigation carried out at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard University show that persons between 55 and 80 years of age who regularly eat spinach present a much lower risk of losing visual acuity due to macular degeneration.
The protective effect of spinach on the retina is greater even than that of carrots. This fact has caught the attention of scientists, who attribute it to spinach’s high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. These substances are carotenoid-type vegetable pigments, which although are not converted to vitamin A, as beta-carotene is, do act as potent antioxidants that protect the sensitive cells of the retina.
Regular consumption of spinach is recommended to all who wish to preserve sight, particularly those over the age of 50.
The best foods for eye health are predominantly going to be plant-based, particularly those mentioned in this article. They provide the nutrients that the eyes need to function properly.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia Of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia Of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 27,22,25,29.