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When you think of eye health, you probably don’t think of your diet beyond the childhood lesson to always eat your carrots. However, nutrition can play a big role in making sure your eyes get the right nutrients to stay healthy. Things like scheduling regular checkups with an optometrist in Tulsa or elsewhere are important, but daily habits, including food choices, matter just as much for preventing vision problems.
Here are five summer foods to boost eye health.
Seafood and healthy fat
Fresh seafood is one of the many perks of an oceanside vacation. It also does wonders for the mind and body. Fish and shellfish are rich in protein and have low-fat content.
Making seafood a regular staple of your diet can boost omega-3 fatty acid levels. These omega-3 fatty acids help build structural components of the brain. They also provide the body with building blocks for new retina cells (the cells in the back of your eyes that help transmit images to the brain). A healthy retina prevents loss of vision. Plus, new retina cells reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
There are other benefits to eating fish regularly. For instance, fatty acids can prevent dry eyes. While there is a wide range of seafood products to enjoy, salmon, mackerel and oysters are rich in fatty acids.
Hard-boiled eggs: Healthy and convenient
For those who are always on the go, hard-boiled eggs are a convenient source of protein. Eggs are also rich in different vitamins.
A single egg contains 6% of the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin A. The body needs this vitamin to make a protein called rhodopsin that helps maintain a clear cornea. A healthy cornea allows the eye to focus properly.
Eggs are also rich in antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants can help prevent cataracts.
Eating eggs more often is easy. Why not boil a dozen to have some go-to snacks?
Why any optometrist in Tulsa and everywhere else will swear by dairy products
Ice cream, frozen yogurt, milkshakes… there are many summertime treats to choose from in the dairy aisle. While it’s important to consider fat content when consuming these products, there are some health benefits as well.
Dairy products are rich in zinc and Vitamin A. While Vitamin A supports corneal health, zinc plays a crucial role in the melanin-creation process. Melanin is often associated with tanning. It protects the skin from sun damage. However, it also protects the eyes from macular degeneration.
It’s the season for citrus fruits
Fruits like grapefruits, lemons, oranges, kumquats and mandarins are easy to find in the summer. They’re the perfect addition to a dessert or a salad with mixed greens.
A medium-sized orange alone contains 70% of the recommended daily value for Vitamin C. A diet rich in Vitamin C prevents inflammation. It also strengthens the blood vessel linings. Those with healthy eye blood vessels are less likely to develop glaucoma and other vascular problems with the eyes.
Kale and other green, leafy vegetables
For those who want to adopt healthy habits or simply enjoy fresh greens, salads are the ideal summertime lunch.
Swapping the usual iceberg or romaine for some kale is good for your health. Kale is a green, leafy vegetable that is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin.
While Vitamin C promotes healthy blood vessels, lutein and zeaxanthin prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. The best part is that it’s easy to combine kale with other healthy foods from this list. It goes well with hard-boiled eggs, cheese cubes and clementine supremes in a salad.
Vision health in the summer
While adopting a healthy diet can go a long way toward supporting eye health, there are other steps to take. Summer months introduce some unique challenges for the eyes, including increased exposure to UV rays.
Regular checkups with an optometrist in Tulsa or other cities can help catch eye health problems early. They’re also important for preventing other health issues. Vision Care Direct of Oklahoma offers vision plans with negotiated savings to make checkups more accessible in Tulsa or wherever you are. Contact us to learn more about available plans!