The Eye Care Diet: 12 Foods to Eat for Healthy Eyes


With many millions of people suffering from macular degeneration and cataracts, it’s well worth incorporating some of the foods that are good for your eyes into your daily diet. Since the eyes are vascular, it’s vital to stick to a healthy diet that is low in saturated and trans fats to maintain your eyes’ blood vessels healthy.

Numerous studies show that protecting the eyes begins with the foods on a plate. Foods rich in lutein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and antioxidants help ward off most age-related vision problems including cataracts and macular degeneration.

A few years ago I had problems with my eyes and I was unable to work in front of a computer screen or watch TV more than 20 minutes since my eyes became red and sore. My doctor helped me, and then he advised me to include these foods for healthy eyes in my everyday meal plan so that I could keep my eyes healthy on a daily basis. One of the best things about these foods is that they also improve digestion, boost my mood and energy, keep my skin healthy, and improve overall health. Enjoy learning about 12 best foods to eat to keep your eyes healthy and feel free to add to this list your favorite foods after reading through.

1. Carrots

Sure, carrots top this list of the best foods to eat for healthy eyes. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene that promote overall eye health. Vitamin A is crucial for the surface of the eyes and lids and beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the cells of the eyes from free radical damage. Carrots don’t give you night vision, of course, but the beta-carotene will help lower your risk of both cataracts and macular degeneration.

Rich in fiber and potassium, carrots are also great for your overall health. Potassium helps to maintain a proper fluid balance in the body and fiber helps keep your digestive system functioning efficiently. Carrots are also high in falcarinol, a substance that can slow the cancer cell growth.

If you are trying to lose weight, load up your diet with carrots since they are extremely low in calories and they are almost fat-free. Plus, they are high in fiber that will keep you full longer and can even prevent you from overeating. Munch on carrots when you are hungry. Serve carrot sticks with hummus or a low-calorie vegetable dip. I always add carrots to my healthy smoothies, salads, soups, stir-fry, and I make healthy carrots chips that my family, especially kids, enjoys eating instead of potato chips.

2. Nuts

Nuts are everywhere and for good reason. They’re loaded with vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids that promote eye health as well as brain health. Nuts fill you up and give you real energy so you’re not running out to get some cookies later in the morning. There are many delightful ways to incorporate nuts into your daily meal plan in order to boost your eye health. It’s up to you what way to choose.

3. Salmon

Like any other oily fish, such as sardines, herring, mackerel and halibut, salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a good eye health. Eating salmon regularly reduces the risk of macular degeneration by 38% and helps treat dry eye disease. Salmon is also one of the best sources of vitamin D that helps improve your eye health, cardiovascular health and it plays a vital role in healthy bone growth. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, type-1 diabetes, sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Incorporate salmon into your eating plan to improve your vision as well as to prevent vitamin D deficiency. A can of salmon contains your day’s worth of this essential vitamin.

Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon also help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and slow and prevent the Alzheimer’s disease. It’s recommended to eat salmon at least twice a week. You can bake salmon for dinner, add salmon chunks to your salads, grill salmon, use raw salmon for sushi and sashimi, or eat smoked salmon with crackers. If you have trouble falling asleep, try eating salmon for dinner. Salmon is high in tryptophan, a natural sedative that will help you sleep better.

4. Leafy greens

Kale, spinach, chard, collards, and other dark leafy greens are packed with two potent antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are stored in the macula. The macula is a small part of the retina that acts as an absolutely natural sunblock, protecting your eyes from harmful light. The antioxidants found in leafy greens absorb blue light that is especially dangerous to the retina. Moreover, they can help you get better contrast detection and improve your eyesight. Many researches have found that zeaxanthin and lutein lower the risk of chronic eye diseases, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

In fact, leafy greens are good for your overall health and they boast a plethora of amazing benefits. For instance, spinach is high in potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamins E and K, and antioxidants that protect your brain cells and may help prevent dementia. Kale is a wonderful source of vitamins A, C and K, magnesium, and calcium. Eating kale regularly promotes healthy eyes and skin, helps reduce the bad cholesterol levels, and improves liver and kidney functions. Add your favorite leafy greens to your green smoothies, use them in your salads, or make homemade kale chips. If you are brave enough to eat leafy greens raw, it’s even better.

5. Corn

One of the most delicious and versatile vegetables, a yellow corn is rich in zeaxanthin and lutein, powerful antioxidants that are good for your eyes. ½ cup of cooked corn provides you with 1,8 grams of these pigments. Consuming corn on a regular basis lowers the risks of cataracts and helps prevent the loss of yellow pigments in the eyes.

Corn is also fortified with Vitamin C, Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B1 (thiamin) and folate. Moreover, it’s a fantastic source of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and antioxidants that help your body combat cancer-causing free radicals. Due to its high fiber content, corn helps prevent hemorrhoids, lower the risk of colon cancer, diabetes and heart problems, as well as aids weight loss.

You can add corn to your salads and soups, grill or boil fresh corn on the cob, use it in your pizza, salsa and risotto. I also love adding corn to my vegetable smoothie. If you don’t like the taste of the corn, a healthy vegetable smoothie is a great option for you. You will enjoy a tasty drink while reaping all its health benefits. To increase the absorption of the eye-friendly pigments found in a yellow corn, consider eating corn with some dietary fat such as salmon, olive oil, or walnuts.

More: 10 Best Foods to Eat to Fight Stress

6. Whole grains

Whole grains have a low glycemic index. They are less processed and a lot healthier. Consuming whole grain foods, such as brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, whole oats, and whole-grain breads, helps to prevent age-related macular degeneration. Needless to say, if you consume them regularly. Whole grain foods are plentiful in vitamin E, niacin and zinc that boost overall eye health. While whole grains are not actually crave-able foods, they boast incredibly healthy benefits.

7. Ostrich

Perhaps, you have never even considered eating ostrich for healthy eyes, but it’s rich in zinc that helps the eyes stay healthy and lowers the risk of macular degeneration. Ostrich is a great substitute for red meat. It contains less than a third of the amount of fat in a lean beef, and it’s much lower in cholesterol than chicken and other red meats.

Ostrich meat is rich in zinc that plays an important role in maintaining eye health. Zinc is also vital for many enzyme systems and proper functioning of your digestion and immune system. Moreover, it helps reduce stress levels, boost metabolism and fight acne. People who suffer from macular degeneration should definitely incorporate ostrich meat into their eating plan. During macular degeneration, the low zinc levels in the retina can be leveled up by eating ostrich meat on a regular basis.

Apart from improving your eye health, ostrich meat boasts numerous benefits. If you want to build or maintain muscle, add some ostrich meat to your daily diet. This meat is an awesome source of potassium, protein, iron, phosphorous, and natural creatine.

Thanks to its ideal pH balance, ostrich meat doesn’t attract or harbor harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E-coli, unlike chicken and some other meats. This makes ostrich meat perfect for carpaccio and sushi.

8. Olive oil

The major reason why olive oil is so beneficial to your eyes is that it helps your body absorb nutrients from the other foods that can help keep your eyes healthy. So, drizzle olive oil over your mixed salad to absorb all of the nutrients from the tomatoes and leafy greens, and cook your sweet potatoes and meat in olive oil to get the most nutrients.

Studies show that a diet that’s low in saturated and trans fat can help prevent retina diseases. Olive oil is low in saturated fat and contains no trans fats. When purchasing olive oil, opt for extra virgin olive oil that provides a great antioxidant boost to protect your eyes. Olive oil is naturally free of cholesterol, carbohydrate and sodium, but it’s high in vitamin E – 100 gram of fresh extra virgin olive oil provides approximately 96% of recommended daily amount of alpha-tocopherol.

Moreover, olive oil is rich in vitamin K – 100 gram of extra virgin olive oil provides around 50% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin K is crucial for preventing heart disease, building strong bones, and keeping your eyes healthy. Due to its high antioxidant content, olive oil helps prevent cancer, coronary artery disease, inflammation, diabetes, and degenerative nerve diseases.

More: 10 Nourishing Oils for Your Skin and Hair

9. Turkey

One of the best and tasty foods to eat for healthy eyes is turkey. It is rich in both the B-vitamin niacin and zinc and it is incredibly versatile. You can use it as a substitute for both beef and chicken. Plus, turkey is often more reasonably priced. Eating turkey regularly keeps the eyes healthy and can even ward off cataract.

Apart from being rich in zinc, turkey is also fortified with B vitamins, tryptophan, phosphorus, protein and selenium. It’s low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and can be a part of a healthy diet due to its high protein content. A serving of turkey has 65 percent of recommended daily protein intake. Have a turkey sandwich with your favorite veggies for lunch and you will almost cover your daily protein intake.

Turkey is believed to help prevent cancer and boost mood thanks to its incredibly high tryptophan content. It’s a great source of selenium, which is crucial for the healthy function of the immune system and thyroid and which plays a vital role in the antioxidant defense system, helping to prevent the growth of cancer-friendly free radicals in your body. Since turkey is lower in cholesterol and fat than beef, pork and chicken, consuming it also helps to reduce cholesterol levels. If you can’t afford eating ostrich meat, turkey may be the best choice for you.

10. Eggs

One egg – be it hard-boiled, raw, poached, or scrambled – is one of the best hunger-busting snacks that is actually good for eye health too. Eggs are a great source of vitamin A and lutein, which can help prevent dry eyes and night blindness. Due to their rich nutrient content, eggs are totally good for your overall health.

11. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are an excellent source of carotenoids, including lycopene, a great antioxidant compound that gives tomatoes their perfect red color. A study shows that the lycopene helps protect the retina and other areas of the eye from the light-induced damage. Lycopene may also help protect your cells from damage and it helps prevent prostate, stomach, and lung cancers. Tomatoes are also plentiful in vitamin C that helps protect your eyes and vision. Moreover, vitamin C promotes wound healing, protects your body from free radical damage, and improves the absorption of iron from most plant foods.

Fresh or cooked tomatoes consumed with a little bit of olive oil will help improve lycopene absorption. Not only do tomatoes help protect your eyes, they can also improve your skin health and boost your brain power and immune system. You can add tomatoes to your morning smoothies, vegetable salads, soups, omelets, or better, eat them raw. Consider grilling tomatoes and drinking tomato juice that is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Slice a few tomatoes for your homemade pizza or make your own tomato pasta sauce. Many researchers say that consuming foods high in powerful antioxidants is much better than taking a supplement. Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, so why not eat them more?

12. Sweet potatoes

Finally, the last great food to eat for healthy eyes is sweet potatoes. It’s the beta-carotene you have to thank for helping to keep your eyes healthy when you eat sweet potatoes. Just like carrots, sweet potatoes are plentiful in beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, manganese and potassium, which are all good for eye health. A medium sweet potato provides over 200 percent of recommended daily intake of beta carotene, 28 percent of recommended daily manganese intake, and 40 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C.

Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin D that is crucial for your immune system, energy levels, eye health and bone growth. Not only are sweet potatoes great for your eye health, they are also good for your heart health. Due to its high content of potassium and vitamin B6, sweet potatoes help to prevent high blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

I like sweet potatoes since they are very versatile. You can mash them, roast them, or even make them into chips and fries. You can also serve baked sweet potatoes with extra virgin olive oil to boost your eye health. Sweet potatoes also blend well with nuts and onions.

More: 10 Best Grilled Potato Recipes

These amazing and tasty foods are good for your eyes since they all contain antioxidants, fats or minerals that are so good for your eyes. Add foods rich in lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, vitamin C, omega-3 fats and zinc to your everyday diet to improve your eye health and prevent eye diseases. Do you eat these foods for healthy eyes? Please comment below.