I’m sure we all know that carrots and other brightly colored fruit and vegetables are packed with lots of eye-friendly vitamins and nutrients. However, we might not all be aware that some foods we eat regularly are not only bad for our overall health, but specifically our eyes.
Because our eyes are vascular, meaning full of blood vessels, we need to eat a heart-healthy diet if we want to protect them. Because the blood vessels of the eye are so tiny, they could easily be blocked by fatty deposits of any size. For this reason, certain unhealthy foods may do a lot of damage.
Some of the following foods you might expect would be unhealthy, but others may surprise you. If they happen to be regularly included in your diet, be sure to consider limiting or eliminating them if you want to protect your eyes, and your overall health.
Fried foods might be a nice treat but your body will not thank you if you’re putting lots of these on your plate, a lot of the time! Obviously, fried foods are full of fatty oils from the cooking process, and these are not eye-friendly ingredients. Again, these foods have been shown to contribute to AMD as well as raise cholesterol. Too much bad cholesterol can lead to clogged arteries, increasing risk of heart attack, stroke and even vision loss. So, give your eyes a break and avoid over-indulging in these fatty foods.
However, certain fats are actually healthy for your eyes. Omega-3 fatty oils found in fish can be beneficial for your body and your eyes, by protecting the membranes around your brain and skin cells, keeping your brain ticking and your skin looking young! To keep your eyes keen, opt for these healthy fats and avoid the likes of chips, crisps and other junk foods which are filled with the wrong kind of oil.
Table Sauces and Dressings
Table sauces and dressings might not immediately spring to mind when you think of unhealthy foods, but they can be packed with high quantities of sugar and fats. There’s not much point in opting for a fresh, healthy salad if you’re going to drench it with sugary toppings!
Eating too much sugar is bad for your body in general, including your eyes. One study found a link between sugary foods and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which results in blind spots in your central vision. This study found that participants whose diet contained a lot of high GI foods were most likely to have advanced AMD in at least one eye.
Another usual suspect has made it to my list of foods which are bad for your eyes: sweetened drinks. As we’ve mentioned, consuming too much sugar can increase your risk of AMD, and this includes fizzy drinks filled with sugar. Drinking copious amounts of fizzy, sugary drinks is linked to obesity, which in turn has been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can have lots of implications for your eyesight.
However, while sugary drinks might be an obvious one to avoid, it might be less obvious that artificial sweeteners can be just as bad for you! So, if you’re trying to lose weight or make healthier choices, be wary of ‘sugar-free’ or ‘diet’ drinks. These tend to have fewer calories because they’ve ditched the sugar, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a healthy alternative.
Processed meats are notoriously bad for your overall health, as well as your eyes. They have a high salt content. Salt has been used as a preservative for hundreds of years, but nowadays it is often added to food in large quantities, and can have a huge impact on your health.
Meat has the highest salt content out of all foods in the human diet and when meat is processed, this number only increases! High salt levels in your diet can lead to water retention as the kidneys try to balance out the vital minerals sodium and potassium. As a result, your eyes can become puffy and swollen because your body is holding onto all the water it can to stay hydrated.
For eye health, and overall health, avoid the processed foods and drinks, and stick to real food and fresh water and teas. To give your eyes an extra oomph, seek out foods high in vitamin A and carotenoid antioxidants, such as sweet potatoes and spinach… and those carrots, too!
This post originally appeared on Avogel.