When you were little, your mom probably talked you into eating your carrots by claiming the veggies would help keep your eyes healthy and your vision strong. Now studies are showing that Mom was right: The vitamins in carrots and other brightly-colored fruits and vegetables actually can help protect against certain diseases of the eye.
Antioxidants are very important for eye health and vision, as these compounds inhibit damage to the eyes from the formation of free radicals in the body, particularly in the retina and lens of the eye. An explosion of food-related research shows a strong connection between food and health. Growing evidence supports the idea that vitamins and minerals in various foods fuel your body and protect vision for the long haul..
Vitamins A, C, and E form a fitting acronym (ACE) when it comes to vision. A major federal study showed that the combo, plus zinc, is a winner when it comes to lowering risk of advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Below are some simple ways to stay healthy and care for your vision.:
1. Bell Peppers Did you know that brightly colored bell peppers are a nutritional powerhouse that could help reduce the risk of prostate cancer and age-related macular degeneration? Just one cup of these beauties provides 100 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamins A and C. Plus, bell peppers are fat-free, low-calorie, and contain three grams of fiber per cup. In addition to giving your body the dose of vitamins it needs, bell peppers fill you up fast and help curb your hunger.
These portable vegetables are perfect for on-the-go snacking. Eating carrots won't make you see better than you already do, but there is a lot of truth in the idea that they can help protect vision, Carrots contain a lot of vitamin A, and there have been several studies recently showing that this vitamin – along with vitamins C and E – helps to reduce the impact of both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Toss them in your salad, dip them in hummus, or just munch on them plain for a flavorful burst of nutrition.
3. Spinach, Kale, and other Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables Deep green and leafy, spinach is filled with vitamin C, beta carotene, and loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants act like a natural sunscreen for your eyes and they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Use spinach in salads, steam it, or mix up a low-cal spinach artichoke dip and scoop it up with carrot and bell pepper sticks.
4. Sweet Potatoes This bright-orange root vegetable provides beta carotene, just like carrots. For an easy and fun way to get your vitamins, cut a sweet potato in thin strips. Roast the strips in the oven with a little olive oil and your choice of spices and you'll soon be enjoying sweet potato fries.
Along with getting the most from what you eat, you can protect the health of your eyes by getting an eye exam every year. Combining good nutrition with yearly checkups will increase your defense against serious health conditions.
This post originally appeared on Vision Service Plan.