Top Nutrients for Healthy Eyes

July 21, 2017 - Nutrition

Studies have shown how important a healthy diet and exercise are for eye health. Yet the prevalence of vision problems is increasing. In fact, over 35 million Americans over the age of 40 have vision problems. The following nutrients can all be found as individual supplements, but check to see if your multivitamin already contains some of the over-the-counter supplements below.

Lutein

RDA 10 mg

Lutein is a powerful antioxidant that protects the macula and lens of the eye. The antioxidant can be found in kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, green beans, goji berries, citrus fruits and orange vegetables.

Zeaxanthin

RDA: 2 mg

This antioxidant should be consumed with Lutein and also is a carotenoid that protects the macula and lens. It also helps filter out damaging blue light that comes from digital devices which damage the macula. Zeaxanthin can be found in red and orange fruits and vegetables, such as pumpkins, tomatoes, red peppers, and squash.

Vitamin C

RDA: 200-1000 mg

This antioxidant helps reduce free radical damage, improves mineral absorption in the lens and supports brain and immune system health. Oranges, red peppers, kale, broccoli, grapefruit, strawberries, kiwi and green peppers are all great sources of Vitamin C.

Beta carotene

RDA: 3-6 mg

This antioxidant and carotenoid is the precursor to Vitamin A.

Beta carotene improves macula, lens and skin health and reduces free radical damage in the eye. It also improves night vision and reduces inflammation.” Foods high in Beta Carotene are Carrots, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, winter squash, cantaloupe, and apricots.

Vitamin A

RDA: 10,000 – 25,000 IU  

Vitamin A helps prevent dry eye, night blindness, macular degeneration and strengthens the cornea. A Vitamin A deficiency can also cause respiratory problems, dry skin, and inflammation. Eggs, squash, apricots, spinach and kale are all excellent excellent sources of Vitamin A.

Vitamin E

RDA: 15mg

This nutrient works well with beta carotene and Vitamin C to decrease overall inflammation and protect the macula. It also reduces free radical damage, repairs damaged skin, balances hormones, improves physical endurance.  Foods like sunflower seeds, almonds, red peppers, collard greens contain high amounts of vitamin E.

Zinc

RDA: 8-11 mg

Zinc protects the retina and lowers the risk of developing macular degeneration.  It also reduces inflammation and improves circulation.  Zinc improves immune system, balances hormones, supports a healthy liver and aids in nutrient absorption. It is easily found in foods such as kidney beans, flax and pumpkin seeds, and spinach.

Omega 3 fatty acids

RDA: 500-1000 mg

Omega 3 fatty acids help lubricate the cornea, reduce eye inflammation, and protect the retina and optic nerve. They also reduce joint pain and stiffness, stabilize blood sugar, and some hyperactivity symptoms. Walnuts, egg yolks, wild-caught salmon, chia seeds, hemp seeds are foods that can help get the recommended 1-4 mg per day.

Glutathione

RDA: 400-500 mg

This is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cataracts and reduce toxins, free radicals and heavy metals in the body.  Foods that contain glutathione are asparagus, potatoes, peppers, carrots, onion, broccoli, avocados, squash, spinach, garlic, tomatoes, grapefruit, apples, oranges, peaches and bananas.

Selenium

RDA: 100 micrograms

Selenium is a trace mineral that can help prevent cataracts. It is also important for improving brain function, thyroid health, supporting a healthy immune system and fertility.  Natural foods, such as brazil nuts, yellowfin tuna, halibut, eggs and spinach contain selenium.

Taurine

RDA: 500-1,000 mg

This amino acid and antioxidant can help prevent macular degeneration and glaucoma. It also helps prevent obesity, promote glucose control, and strengthens the cardiovascular system. The recommended 500-1,000 mg per day can be found in foods such as salmon, tuna, shrimp, clams, eggs, beef and lamb.  

Magnesium

RDA: 400 mg

Magnesium is a key mineral that helps regulate cellular energy for cardiac and skeletal muscles. It helps the eyes by reducing eye twitching and spasms, and also protects the optic nerve and tissues at the back of the eye. Magnesium can also prevent calcium build up on the lens which can cause early onset cataracts. Almonds, cashews, brown rice, avocados, lentils and kidney beans are some of the best magnesium-rich foods.

Vitamin D3

RDA: 1,000 IU

Vitamin D3 helps prevent macular degeneration and strengthens bones and teeth. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help improve the immune system. Sunlight is a good source of Vitamin D3 which can prevent seasonal affective disorder and depression. Foods that ensure you get your RDA are cod liver oil, sardines, eggs and mushrooms.

Vitamin B

RDA: 2.4-100 micrograms depending on age

There are three types of Vitamin B that help vision and the eyes.

  • B12: Keeps the optic nerve healthy protecting from glaucoma, improves nerve function and supports red blood cells. It can be found in lamb, cottage cheese, tuna, beef and salmon.
  • B6: Reduces macular degeneration symptoms, cardiac diseases and supports immune system function. A B6 deficiency can cause blurred vision and cataract formation. Foods high in B6 include salmon, sweet potato, bananas and tuna.
  • B2: Helps to reduce free radical damage and maintain healthy blood vessels. A deficiency can lead to light sensitivity, headaches, sore eyes and cataracts. B2 is best found in mushrooms, spinach, almonds and lamb.  

Integrating whole foods into the diet is the best way for the body to receive these helpful nutrients, but supplementation may be necessary. When choosing a supplement, be sure to avoid those that contain wheat, rye, barley, oats, gluten, or lactose. Also try to avoid fillers such as magnesium stearate, titanium dioxide, artificial colors, and hydrogenated oils.

  • Some are also good for your blood pressure, Selenium, Omega 3 fatty acids. I often recommend them