of the Best Vegetables for Vision Health
anyone to name a vegetable thats good for your eyes, and their
first answer will most likely be carrots. And yes, while Bugs Bunnys
favorite snack is undeniably filled with vision-enhancing vitamins,
there are other veggies that can enhance your eyesight (as well
as your immune system, your heart, your colon
the list goes
on). So when youre eating for two (two eyes, that is), consider
these three vision-boosting veggies: spinach, kale, and sweet potatoes.
to the American Optometric Associations 2008 American Eye-Q
survey, which assesses public understanding of issues related to
visual health, only 29 percent of Americans use nutrition as a tool
to deal with vision loss or other eye problems.
survey showed that nearly half of all Americans still believe carrots
are the best food for eye health. But spinach and other dark, leafy
greens prove to be one of the healthiest foods for eyes because
they naturally contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, two
antioxidants essential to good vision.
spinach has approximately the same amount of beta carotene as carrots,
it has more lutein and zeaxanthin. Because of this, eating spinach
can reduce your risk of getting certain eye diseases, such as age-related
macular degeneration, which affects approximately 43 million Americans.
In order to maintain healthy eyes, add 10 mg of lutein to your diet
each day or eat one cup of cooked spinach four times a week (it
is easier for the body to absorb nutrients from cooked spinach than
also helps prevent the formation of cataracts in the eye. Lutein
and zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that protect the eyes from
UV radiation damage, particularly from exposure to sunlight, which
is one of the leading causes of cataracts.
kale, a form of cabbage, is loaded with good-for-yous: vitamin A,
vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese; dietary fiber, calcium, copper,
vitamin B6, and potassium. In fact, according to the Worlds
Healthiest Foods newsletter, Kale has more nutritional value
for fewer calories than almost any other food around.
is an excellent source of vitamin C: just one cup of this cooked
vegetable supplies 88.8% of the daily value for vitamin C. It has
been estimated that more than 50 percent of Americans do not take
in the recommended dosage of vitamin C per day. Vitamin C has been
shown to minimize or reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD.
Kale is also an excellent source of vitamin A because of its concentrated
beta-carotene content. The WHF newsletter notes, Once inside
the body, beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A, so when
you eat kale, it's like getting both these beneficial nutrients
at once. One cup of kale provides 192.4% of the daily value
for vitamin A.
Both vitamin A and beta-carotene are important vision nutrients.
In a study of over 50,000 female nurses aged 45 to 67, women who
consumed the highest dietary amount of vitamin A had a 39% reduced
risk of developing cataracts.
potatoes, native to the tropical parts of South America, have been
cultivated for thousands of years. They are rich in complex carbohydrates,
calcium, dietary fiber, beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared
the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables, and
for many categories, including vitamins A and C, the sweet potato
ranked highest in nutritional value, earning 184 points, 100 points
over the next veggie on the list, the common potato.
potatoes contain unique root storage proteins that have significant
antioxidant capacities. In one study, these proteins had about one
third the antioxidant activity of glutathione, an antioxidant, immune
system booster, and detoxifier. Sweet potatoes have healing properties
as an antioxidant food, working in the body to eliminate free radicals,
which are associated with the development of conditions such as
cancer, heart disease, and degenerative eye diseases.
antioxidant activity in sweet potato skin, regardless of its color,
is almost three times higher than in the rest of the tissue. So
purchase organically grown sweet potatoes, bake or boil them, and
eat the entire tuber, skin and all.
Stuart Richer, optometrist and the American Optometric Associations
vision and nutrition expert, says, Clinical research has shown
that nutrients in eye-healthy foods can slow vision loss. Indeed,
in some cases, these foods can even improve vision while providing
additional health benefits to the patient. Thats goodand
good-tastingnews for all of us.
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Throughout this entire website, statements are made pertaining to
the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration
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