March is National Nutrition Month according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and I thought it would be fun to share what foods out there are best for eye health. Just a few years ago it was thought that chomping on carrot sticks with all their beta-Carotene was the best food for your eyes, but recent research has revealed a number of foods that are superior to the orange veggies when it comes to promoting eye health and helping to decrease the risk of certain eye disease.
Leafy Green Vegetables-
Spinach, kale and the other leafy green veggies are rich in carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin. What’s also cool is these carotenoids are found in high concentrations in the macula as well as in the lens of the eye. Lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to have important antioxidative functions, and there is evidence showing that consumption of foods rich in these nutrients can help decrease the risk of age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Of course there are so many ways to enjoy your leafy green vegetables, but you can find one of my favorite go-to salad recipes here. I also shared my favorite green smoothie recipe that’s packed full of spinach and rich in lutein and zeaxanthin back in this post!
Broccoli and avocado also contain a good amount of lutein and zeaxanthin. One of my favorite superfood snacks is just an avocado drizzled with some balsamic vinegar.
Cold Water Fish-
Cold water fish such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids, or “good fat” building blocks, are important for many of your body’s systems. Omega-3 fatty acids are termed “essential” fatty acids because the body doesn’t produce them and, therefore, they must be attained through foods you eat. There is support that omega-3 fatty acids are likely to help prevent dry eye disease as well as macular degeneration. Here is a recipe for the quickest, easiest salmon dish I make for my family all the time (Sweet Chili Salmon).
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are rich in vitamin E which promotes eye health. These nuts also contain those all-important omega-3 fatty acids! Although I do like snacking on just plain whole almonds, here is a recipe for another one of my favorite ways to enjoy an almond snack! It’s also a great Hors d’oeuvre to serve if you’re hosting a cocktail party!