Eyes are one of the most important organs of the body, and it is important to maintain healthy vision and protect the eyes from vision impairing diseases through optimum intake of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. These nutrients not only help in maintaining eye health but also improve the clarity of vision. Prevention is always better than cure, and it is possible to prevent eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration through a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients that also helps in improving eyesight naturally.
Causes of Low Vision
Some of the most common causes of visual impairment include:
- Macular Degeneration
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
Important Nutrients for Better Eyesight
The list of vitamins and minerals mentioned below are some of the most essential nutrition for eyes that are important for improving vision and maintaining overall ocular health.
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for maintaining optimum eye health. It is often called the eye vitamin because it is required for proper functioning of the retina and production of pigment rhodopsin. Vitamin A helps the eye to adjust to changing brightness, and it also helps in preventing macular degeneration. Regular intake of vitamin A prevents formation of cataract and maintains the moisture of eyes. A deficiency of vitamin A can lead to poor night vision.
Some of the natural food sources of vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy green vegetables, lettuce, apricots, lettuce, red peppers, paprika, mangoes, cantaloupes, peas, mustard greens, turnip greens, etc.
B vitamins also function effectively to improve eyesight. Vitamin B-12 – also known as cobalamin is essential for proper functioning of the optic nerves, and its deficiency can lead to optic neuropathy and decreased vision. B vitamins also improve blood circulation in eyes and reduce the level of amino acids – a leading cause of vision loss. Regular intake of B vitamins reduces the risk of glaucoma and cortical cataract. Combination of Vitamin B-12 with folic acid also helps in preventing age-related macular degeneration.
Some of the natural food sources of vitamin B-12 are crustaceans such as shellfish, oysters and mussels, crab, beef liver, chicken, turkey, fishes such as salmon, trout, herring, fortified cereals, fortified soy products, cheese, etc.
The health benefits of vitamin C are well-known. It also ranks among one of the most important vitamins for healthy eyes as well. It cuts down the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration by almost 70%. The powerful antioxidant property of vitamin C protects the eye against harmful chemicals and toxins, improves the health of capillaries and relieves eye pressure related to glaucoma.
Some of the natural food sources of vitamin C are guava, red and green bell pepper, kiwi, orange, grapefruit, tomatoes, strawberries, ripe papaya, cantaloupes, broccoli, kale, green peas, etc.
Vitamin D in combination with calcium is essential for improving bone strength. Although the utility of this vitamin for eyes is not much known but a deficiency of vitamin D can lead to macular degeneration and blurred vision. Regular absorption of vitamin D through sun exposure or from foods and supplements can prevent macular degeneration, reduce inflammation and improve vision.
Sunlight is the most effective source of vitamin D. Food sources of vitamin D includes fishes like tuna, mackerel, salmon, beef liver, milk, cheese, egg yolk, fortified cereals, mushrooms, soy beverages, grain products, etc.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that revokes the damage caused by harmful free radicals and oxidative stress and protects the retina. Daily consumption of vitamin E also reduces the risk of cataract, age-related macular degeneration and impaired vision. Deficiency of vitamin E can create problems with eye movement.
Wheat germ oil is the richest source of vitamin E, while other food sources of vitamin E include nuts such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, avocados, vegetable oils, shrimps, oysters, turnip greens, tomatoes, peanut butter, etc.
This essential trace mineral is extremely important in relieving intraocular eye pressure which is becoming an increasingly common problem with the increase in computer-centric work that puts strain on the eyes. Chromium rich foods can help in rejuvenating the eye and improving vision by relieving the tired ocular muscles. In addition, chromium also helps in boosting metabolism, preventing hypertension and regulating the level of cholesterol in the blood.
Some of the natural food sources of chromium are whole grains, wheat germ, bran cereal, romaine lettuce, broccoli, onions, grape juice, potatoes, green beans, molasses, etc.
Copper is an essential mineral that is required for the production of collagen, the basic component of connective tissues that provides structure to cell membranes. It also helps in the production of hemoglobin that promotes greater circulation of oxygen throughout the body. A deficiency of this metal can lead to impaired vision and vision loss. Optimum intake of copper-rich foods can prevent premature skin aging and appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Some of the natural food sources of copper are organ meats, oysters and shellfish, beans, nuts, whole grains, pulses, dried fruits, avocados, cocoa, black pepper, etc.
Selenium functions as a powerful antioxidant for fighting infections and boosting the immune system. It prevents free radical damage to the lens and macula. Low levels of selenium in the body have been shown to increase the risk of developing cataract and macular degeneration. Intake of selenium has also been found to prevent autoimmune disorder of the eye known as Graves’ disease.
Some of the natural food sources of selenium include fishes such as tuna, sardines, salmon, Brazil nuts, shellfish, red meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, mushrooms, whole grains, oats, onions, etc.
This mineral is extremely important for the body for carrying out normal muscle and nerve functions, boosting the immune system and strengthening the bones. Daily intake of magnesium has been shown to prevent glaucoma and improve vision in patients suffering from glaucoma. Low humidity, poor nutrition or toxins often cause an eye problem known as dry eye and the symptoms include redness, burning, irritation and pain. Magnesium can help in relieving dry eye and its symptoms.
Some natural food sources of magnesium include beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, lentils, beans, bananas, dry fruits, dark chocolate, etc.
Zinc plays an integral role in maintaining the functions of the eye, and the macula of the eyes have the greatest concentration of zinc compared to any other organ. It converts the beta-carotene derived from vegetables into vitamin A. It is required for improving the optic cells and strengthening the tissues and muscles of the eye. It also prevents swelling and cloudiness of the cornea.
Some natural food sources of zinc are spinach, kidney beans, beef, chicken, turkey, shrimps, oysters, flax seeds, garlic, peanuts, egg yolk, brown rice, dark chocolate, etc.
Include these essential nutrients in your daily diet to improve eyesight naturally and prevent the risk of developing macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataract.