All-in for Veganuary 2022? The 5 best foods for your eyesight
Jan 19, 2022 in Eye Care
Are you diving head-first into Veganuary 2022? Good for you! …And good for your eyes, too. Following a plant-based diet offers lots of vitamins and minerals that are important for your eye health.
Eye-friendly nutrients found in many vegan foods, such as fruits and vegetables including spinach, red peppers, kale, leeks, avocado, peaches and blueberries can help to protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as looking after the general health of your eyes.*
5 vegan-friendly foods to help boost your eye health
Starting with the millennial’s favourite. This popular and versatile fruit (yes, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable) is packed full of lutein and zeaxanthin, which is thought to help absorb harmful wavelengths of light that can damage the eye. That makes for tip-top eye health and a decreased risk of cataracts.
When you were little, did your mum tell you that eating your carrots would make you see in the dark? A tall tale, surely? Well, she wasn’t entirely wrong! This root vegetable, along with sweet potatoes, mango and papaya, is naturally rich in beta-carotene (that the body converts to vitamin A) which contributes to the maintenance of normal vision.
Oranges and other citrus fruits are fantastic sources of vitamin C. This essential antioxidant vitamin is an important weapon in the fight against optical ageing, by protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals - highly reactive substances created in your body by eating, breathing, and by other factors such as air pollution and smoking.
4. Leafy green vegetables
Dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and peas are good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin – plant carotenoids are naturally found as pigments in the macula (the centre of the retina), and are thought to help absorb harmful wavelengths of light that can damage the eye.
Both blueberries and blackcurrants are packed full of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. Among the many reported health benefits of antioxidants, is the positive effects they can have on eye health. Studies indicate that eating these superfoods may help save your vision if you’re affected by normal tension glaucoma. What’s more, they can help prevent vision loss caused by eye diseases such as uveitis (a painful inflammation of the middle layer of the eye).
It’s also worth looking at the naturally occurring plant chemicals, such as the polyphenol resveratrol. Found naturally in the skin of red grapes (and consequently red wine), but also in peanuts and berries. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties tallies with emerging evidence of the role of resveratrol in eye health.
Been a while since your last eye test? If you have any more immediate concerns about your eye health, we’re here to help. Book an appointment to see one of our expert optometrists at your local Leightons practice by calling 0800 40 20 20, or you can book online.
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2022!