Want to preserve your vision well into the future? You can protect your peepers from damage with antioxidants found in dark leafy greens, egg yolks, yellow peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and carrots. Notice the color pattern? Current research shows that consuming yellow, orange and green vegetables can help prevent age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. Find out how each of these foods promotes healthy vision.
Carrots are famous for the ability to brighten eyesight. The orange coloring of carrots comes from its high content of beta-carotene, which is metabolized into vitamin A, the substance in carrots that helps improve vision (especially night vision). Keep in mind that less than 5% of the beta-carotene in raw carrots is released during digestion. You can improve the release to almost half by pulping, cooking and adding cooking oil.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Ever wonder why sweet potatoes – or all orange foods, for that matter – are the color they are? The carotenoid compounds found in orange fruits and veggies are responsible for the sunset pigments. Thanks to these carotenoid antioxidants, found in foods like sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkins, we can brush free radicals away, improving eyesight and bolstering the immune system. So, go ahead, enjoy some creamy, roasted butternut squash!
To nourish your eyes, follow Popeye’s lead! Spinach (and many other green foods) is full of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that protect your retina from the macular degeneration that comes with age. Lutein has also been found to help reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. The darker the color, the better the lutein content. Don’t forget: fat increases lutein absorption, so remember to sauté your spinach and other greens in a little olive oil. Other lutein and zeaxanthin vegetables include kale, turnip greens, collards, mustard greens, squash, green peas and broccoli.
Get your fill of the greens in the sea! Algae-related superfoods like spirulina, chlorella and blue-green algae possess nutrients that are beneficial for the eyes. Like most green-hued plants, algae contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll resembles the structure of the iron-containing hemoglobin in the human body and increases blood cell production, improves oxygenation, detoxification and circulation, all of which keeps you in overall good health and also helps protect your vision. You don’t need to go scuba diving to find these aquatic delights because they are available often as a powder, which you can add to water, juice or green tea. Children shouldn’t take more than 1 gram, and pregnant and nursing women should speak to their physician before including into their diet.
Eye-Bright Green Juice Recipe
This is an age-old Chinese folk remedy for clearing the vision. Research has caught up with this wisdom and we now know that luteolin, an antioxidant bioflavonoid found in these three ingredients has been found to help protect the eye from UV radiation damage as well as from glycation, a process in which sticky sugar molecules bind up protein, potentially damaging the retina. Drink this fresh juice daily to see well into the future!
2 celery stalks
1/2 cup peppermint
1/2 cup Chinese parsley (aka cilantro)
1 cup water
Simply blend together celery, peppermint and Chinese parsley with a little water in a blender or juicer.