If you’re a little bit challenged in the eyesight department, the chances are that you’ve looked around at the different ways you might be able to improve your sight, or at least prevent it from getting worse. While we now know that only surgery can correct damage caused to the eyes and the surrounding muscles, there are indeed things you can do to keep your eyesight in its current state. Small lifestyle changes that could make a big difference in the future include wearing quality reading glasses when needed, wearing sunglasses to protect against UV rays and, you guessed it, eating the right kinds of food. Being vegan brings its own challenges when it comes to getting the right nutrition, though, and often we’re advised to eat fish or eggs to help our eyes. Read on below to find out which vegan friendly foods can help you to maintain healthy eyes.
1. Green Vegetables
Always a winner when it comes to eating for health, green vegetables include the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which prevent degeneration in the eyes. They also contain high levels of Vitamin C, which helps to protect against UV rays. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are particularly good for this, as recent studies have shown that they can reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases such as macular degeneration. This is a particular worry for people over the age of 50, whose eyesight may already be suffering from normal wear and tear. These vegetables can contain higher levels of carotenoids than eggs, which shows that vegan friendly options needn’t be less nutritious.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Specialist optometrists have become highly enthusiastic about the benefits of sweet potatoes lately, as they include high levels of Vitamin E, which is good for both the skin and eyes. When consumed regularly, this vitamin helps to protect against free radicals, which break down healthy tissues in the eyes and lead to all sorts of problems. Also found in fortified cereals, Vitamin E is a vital element of any diet, especially in those with chronic skin or eye problems. Another benefit of sweet potatoes is beta carotene, which encourages healthy eye tissue and is also found in the most popular food for eye health; carrots.
3. Brightly Coloured Vegetables
A lesser known way to boost your eye health is with brightly coloured vegetables such as bell peppers, which come in red, yellow and orange. These delicious sweet veggies are packed full of Vitamins A and C, which encourage youthful eyes and prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Carrots also contain a great deal of these vitamins, suggesting that there is something behind that old saying that carrots are good for your eyes. They won’t actually improve your eyesight, but they will help you to maintain healthy vision.
4. Chia Seeds
These very popular seeds have become a staple breakfast food in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Packed full of protein, as well as antioxidants, calcium and omega 3, they can do wonders for your eye health. The antioxidants can help prevent cataracts and glaucoma, while the omega 3s protect the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Chia seeds actually contain higher levels of omega 3 than fish or eggs, so give them a try to boost your eye health and overall wellbeing. Their high protein levels make them the ideal way to start the day with an energy boost.
A key element of eye health is getting enough zinc, which helps us to absorb vitamins from the liver, particularly Vitamin A. Chickpeas are an excellent source of zinc, and therefore make a nutritious addition to any vegan diet. Zinc is more traditionally sourced from meat, but vegan options such as chickpeas and pumpkin seeds provide just as much benefit. These versatile foods can be added to a range of dishes, and are also a good source of protein for those who choose a lifestyle that is free from animal products.