Whether or not you’re a foodie, you know that the meals you consume greatly impact your overall health. When you’re ill, you eat chicken soup loaded with nutritious veggies, and you drink lots of orange juice to increase your vitamin C intake. After a few days, you feel right as rain.
But have you ever thought about how the foods you eat impact your eyes?
Interestingly, the food you consume has a huge impact on your ocular health. Below, you’ll find some of the worst and best foods for your eyes. Read on to discover which foods negatively impact your vision and which ones can help you see better.
Foods That Benefit Your Vision
Even if you do eat fast food occasionally, you can improve your eyesight and eye health by consuming any of the following foods on a regular basis.
Berries like raspberries and blackberries contain high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. These components are incredibly helpful in boosting your immune system, deterring illnesses, and protecting your eyes.
You can also find high levels of vitamins and antioxidants in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits.
Corn contains high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein, two carotenoid pigments that aid in good eye health and vision. In fact, a half cup of corn provides almost two grams of these pigments. By consuming more of these pigments, you keep a steady supply in your body, and you greatly reduce your risk for developing eye issues like cataracts.
Likewise, egg yolks are an easy source of zeaxanthin and lutein. The yolks also contain high levels of zinc, which your eyes need in order to function properly. As you consume more eggs, you lower your chances of developing macular degeneration.
4. Leafy Greens
A third source of zeaxanthin and lutein is dark, leafy greens. Vegetables like spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli have high levels of these pigments. So, the more of these veggies you consume, the more you increase the lutein and zeaxanthin pigments found in your macula and retina—and the more you increase how these parts of your eyes work.
Black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lentils, and other legumes all contain zinc and bioflavonoids. The mineral and compound protect and assist your retina, so the more legumes you consume, the fewer retina-related eye issues you’ll develop over time.
Fish that contains high levels of omega-3 acids can greatly benefit your health. As far as your eyes go, the omega-3s protect the blood vessels in your eyes. Blood heals the body, so the more blood has access to your eyes, the better your eye health.
Foods That Could Lead to Poor Eye Health
While you may love fast food or take out, those foods could harm your eye health or your vision. You’ll find some of the worst offenders below.
1. Fried Food
Burgers, french fries, and milkshakes are comfort foods. Because there are dozens of burger joints around you, you may enjoy eating fast food on nights when you don’t have time to cook. But if you eat fried foods too often, all that oil can build up in your body and clog up your arteries.
As a result, you will likely experience high blood pressure, which can cause you to develop eye problems such as hypertensive retinopathy.
Like fast foods, margarine is loaded with chemicals and oxidized fats. If you consume too many of these unhealthy fats, the cells in your body could mutate, and you may even notice inflammation as well.
3. Sugary Drinks
Do you enjoy drinking an ice-cold soda with dinner? Or do you prefer drinking other sugary, carbonated drinks throughout the day? While you can definitely drink beverages that are sweetened with pure sugar, you should avoid drinks that are sweetened with sugars like high-fructose corn syrup.
Researchers have shown that drinks that use these kinds of sweeteners elevate triglyceride levels and further increase the risk for high blood pressure, which could in turn cause you to develop eye problems.
Talk to Your Eye Doctor for More Tips
While you can reduce your consumption of fried, processed, or modified foods and increase your intake of beneficial foods, you can only do so much to impact your vision.
If you have any problems seeing, notice any signs of infection, or experience an eye injury, make an appointment with your eye doctor. He or she will perform a routine or in-depth examination, depending on your situation, and then tell you what other steps you must take to care for your eyes.
Additionally, your optometrist can give you more tips so you can further care for your eyes between eye appointments.
This post originally appeared on All About Eyes.