Did you know that what you eat can have a significant effect on your eye health? Your eyes rely on their blood vessels that bring healthy nutrients and oxygen to your retinas. A poor diet that is high in fat or simple carbohydrates can block these blood vessels with small, fatty deposits. It also puts you at higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Avoid Fatty Foods for Better Eye Health
Higher levels of fats like polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and vegetable fats, along with linoleic acid are associated with a higher risk of developing advanced AMD. It is not surprising that foods that are considered “junk food;” especially store-bought, highly processed snack foods are bad for your eye health. After all, they are bad for your overall health. These foods include:
- Potato chips
- French fries
- Cookies and cakes
There are common foods with higher levels of fats in your refrigerator that are bad for your eye health. These foods include:
- Salad dressings
- Fatty meats
- Lunch meats
- Red meats
Simple carbohydrates like those found in foods like white bread, rice, pasta, and flour tortillas provide a rush of energy, but no real nutritional benefits. These foods also lack the nutrition needed to keep your eyes healthy.
What Should You Eat for Better Eye Health?
If you want to keep your eyes healthy, you need to eat a heart-healthy diet. This is a diet that contains healthy saturated fats instead of unsaturated fats. But you also need to focus on foods that are high in antioxidants and contain essential nutrients like zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin that are important for healthy eyes.
- Fresh vegetables, including raw bell peppers, carrots, dark leafy greens, and sweet potatoes
- Fresh fruit, like strawberries, mangos, cantaloupe
- Beans and legumes, like black beans and kidney beans
- Natural peanut butter, which is a good source of vitamin E
- Seeds and nuts, like sunflower, almonds, and hazelnuts
- Complex carbs, such as brown rice and whole grains
- Fish, like salmon that is packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids
- Eggs, which are packed with zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin
- Lean meats, like fresh turkey
- Low-fat or non-dairy products, like skim milk or plant milk
- Olive, avocado, or coconut oil instead of butter or margarine
If you are concerned that your diet could be affecting your eye health, speak to your eye doctor. Contact Valley Eyecare Center at 602-955-2700 or schedule an appointment online