Older adults are at higher risk for vision problems than their younger counterparts. From a detached retina to glaucoma, some age-related vision changes might be unavoidable. Others, however, may be prevented or delayed with good nutrition.
Some vitamins and minerals are known for protecting vision. Because the body processes things differently with age, older adults may need to consume higher quantities of these nutrients.
What foods have the best vision-boosting ingredients? Research shows the following may protect eye health as you age.
Foods to Promote Healthier Eyes
1. Foods rich in vitamin C
Researchers have jokingly referred to this as “Vitamin See” because it has such a positive impact on eye health. It’s found in citrus fruits, strawberries, and red peppers. Vitamin C may guard against cataracts and slow the progress of age-related macular degeneration.
2. Berries with anthocyanins
Anthocyanins are a powerful antioxidant. They may help protect your eyes from UV damage, cataracts, glaucoma, and more. You can find it in berries, like blackberries and blueberries, as well as currants and red grapes.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids
You’ve likely heard about the heart health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Your eyes can benefit from consuming them, too. Cold-water fatty fish, such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, and herring, are good choices. Nuts, seeds, and plant oils are others.
4. Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin
Two additional antioxidants linked to healthy vision are lutein and zeaxanthin. You can find them in leafy greens, especially spinach and kale, as well as eggs, kiwi, grapes, squash, and zucchini. Adding them to soups and salads is an easy way to increase your intake.
5. Beta-carotene and vitamin C
Bad Bugs Bunny jokes aside, carrots are something of a superfood when it comes to eye health. They contain both vitamin C and beta-carotene, as do other red and orange vegetables and fruits. Sweet potatoes, yellow pepper, cantaloupe, apricots, and pumpkin are other choices to consider.
Healthy Nutrition for Seniors
A well-balanced diet is a vital part of overall successful aging, not just eye health. Knowing how many calories to consume, as well as which foods to eat and which to avoid, can be confusing. That’s one reason the United States Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate initiative can be so helpful. The site contains resources and tools that make it easier to plan menus and prepare healthy meals.