Move Over Carrots – Other Key Nutrients for Healthy Vision
Popeye trumps Bugs Bunny—at least for nutrition. Carrots are commonly thought of as the best food for eye health. While the beta-carotene in carrots helps to support healthy vision due to its pro-vitamin A function – this nutrient supports one aspect of eyesight, night vision.
Move over carrots and beta-carotene, there are other foods and nutrients that appeal to eye health.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin – increasing science points to other eye-healthy, yet not-so-well-known nutrients: lutein [loo-tee-in] and zeaxanthin [zē-ə-‘zan-thən] – of the 600 known carotenoids these are the only two that are found in the retina of the eye. Eat dark leafy greens like spinach and you’re on your way to incorporating lutein and zeaxanthin into your daily diet. While there is no established RDA for lutein and zeaxanthin, the American Optometric Association recommends 10 mg per day of lutein and 2 mg per day of zeaxanthin.
Omega-3s – EPA and DHA omega-3s, found in fatty fish, fish oil and algae (the fish get omega-3s from algae—they don’t make it themselves), are major structural fats in the retina of your eye (and in your brain). They play an important role in both infant visual development and visual function throughout life.
Vitamin E – This essential vitamin, found in oils, wheat germ and peanuts, is an antioxidant that protects cells including those in the eye.
If you’re not eating foods rich in these nutrients on a daily basis, there are supplements specifically formulated for eye health featuring these nutrients.
The content of this article is based on science and claims approved for a North American audience. In other countries and regions, different health claims may apply.
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