We’ve all heard it at some point in our lives: Carrots are good for our eyes. While that may not have enticed you to eat them, there was truth in the myth because of the valuable vitamins contained in those vegetables. Children’s eye care research has proven that eating certain vegetables supports your eye health throughout your lifetime.
1. Beta Carotene
The reason that carrots are highly touted to youngsters is because they are rich in Beta Carotene. This powerful antioxidant helps prevent major eye issues such as Cataracts and Macular Degeneration as you age. Sweet potatoes are another food that is rich in Beta Carotene, and you’ll also find this antioxidant in spinach.
2. Vitamin C
Another amazing antioxidant, vitamin C, supports the collagen in your body. Your cornea is comprised of collagen fibers so vitamin C intake is very beneficial to the health of that important eye structure. You may equate fruits with vitamin C but you may not realize that veggies such as raw broccoli and peppers are very high in the vitamin. Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and spinach are additional veggies high in vitamin C. Children’s eye care specialists know the likelihood of your child voluntarily eating these foods may be minuscule, so you may need to get creative or sneaky.
Age Related Macular Degeneration and cataracts can steal your sight as you age, but lutein is a vitamin that combats both diseases. Lutein is a substance found in the pigment of your eye, and is theorized to help filter light and prevent sun damage within your eye. Lutein-rich vegetables are kale, spinach, corn, broccoli, and squash and are most effective when part of a high fat meal, such as with red meat.
4. Vitamin E
Yet another vital antioxidant, Vitamin E protects your eyes from a thing called a free radical, which is a byproduct of your metabolism known to damage healthy cells. Nuts, especially almonds and sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, and some enriched cereals are a good source of vitamin E. A diet rich in Vitamin E also helps in the fight against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Children’s eye care specialists recommend giving your child’s vision a healthy and strong foundation by incorporating as many of the foods above as your child will tolerate. For picky eaters, consult your child’s eye doctor for advice on supplements that will fill in the dietary gaps.