These days, our eyes need all the help they can get. In this digital age, everyday eye fatigue from near-constant screen time is taking its toll. Of course, our devices bring us so many incredible things — endless knowledge, opportunities, and possibilities all at our fingertips. We don’t want to give them up completely, but balance is something we always strive for. When additional or excessive screen time is unavoidable, because of work, online schooling, or simply to check in with loved ones, we need to step up our efforts to protect our vision from the long-term effects of staring at a screen.
The Most Important Vitamins and Nutrients for Eye Health
Foods known for promoting eye health, such as the infamous carrot, do this by providing potent vitamins and antioxidants that nourish the eyes. An abundance of these nutrients is vital to help protect and maintain eye health, but in reality, you can only eat so many carrots!
Luckily, plenty of foods nourish our eye health, and it’s easy to fit them into your meals and snacks. Look for foods high in these nutrients to benefit your vision and eye health.
♦ Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3s
♦ Vitamin A, C, D, E
♦ Carotenoids such as beta-carotene
The Best Foods for Eye Health
This one tops the list as the best all-around food for promoting eye health. Spinach contains alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which you may have heard is really great for keeping your skin looking youthful, but it also benefits eye health tremendously! Also high in lutein, zeaxanthin, carotenoids, zinc, calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin E, spinach is known as one of the world’s most nutritious foods. If we could pick just one food for eye health, it would be this!
Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, promote the health of the eyes and benefit the body's overall health. Because it’s an oily substance, these fatty acids help prevent everyday dryness and may even help to relieve occasional pressure around the eyes. Healthy salmon and other fish that have a reddish tinge get their color from carotenoid levels in the foods they eat, such as astaxanthin, which is also a major player in maintaining eye health.
3. Chia Seeds
You may already know about some of the health benefits of this tiny superfood that can have a big impact on health, such as supporting brain health, heart health, and hormonal health, but did you know how great they are for eye health? Chia seeds are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of ALA), calcium, and plenty of antioxidants that nourish eye health. Not only are they fun and delicious, but they can also be added to so many things or make a great satisfying snack (if you haven’t tried chia pudding, it's a must!)
It’s great how just eating breakfast can be good for your eyes! Egg yolks get their color from a variety of antioxidants and are rich in two well-known nutrients that are great for eye health- lutein and zeaxanthin, along with other carotenoids. This is where farm-raised or pastured hens shine. The color of the yolk is dependent on what the chickens are eating, so look for a deep yellow or orange yolk for the highest level of carotenoids and other antioxidants. Interestingly, eating eggs along with other carotenoid-rich foods, such as leafy greens, makes it easier for the body to absorb these potent nutrients.
Did you eat your kale today? If you did, you just gave yourself a hefty dose of nutrients that keep your eyes happy and healthy. Kale has high levels of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are actually nicknamed ocular antioxidants. These accumulate in the tissues of the eye, helping to sustain the health of the retina and macula. The antioxidants present in kale and other leafy greens may be your eyesight’s new best friend!
Milk, cheese, and yogurt might be doing you some favors by providing riboflavin, zinc, and vitamin A, all of which are essential for eye health. A good excuse for ice cream? Perhaps, but low sugar options are probably a better choice. Calcium, the nutrient that milk is most known for, also benefits the eyes and helps maintain the nerves that send communication signals from the eyes to the brain. Dairy products also have protein which is vital for healthy tissues throughout the body, including, you guessed it, the eyes!
Yes, of course, we have all heard that carrots are good for the eyes, but why? Carrots, even the purple ones, contain lots of beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. Since getting too much isolated vitamin A is not really a good thing, some experts recommend getting this important nutrient from your food rather than depending on supplements. Eating a variety of orange veggies and fruits can keep your body fulfilled with this essential vitamin that has a wide range of health benefits, especially for your eyes.
Almond milk latte or smoothie, anyone? Yes, please! Almonds are great for the eyes, and that means almond milk or trail mix can be a quick, easy and delicious way to promote eye health. Almonds are very high in vitamin E, which studies show is good for helping to slow age-related eye problems. These nutritious seeds are also high in magnesium which is a vital nutrient for the eyes, and without it, they are not able to function properly.
Everyone knows that oranges are bursting with vitamin C, but what does that have to do with eye health? Vitamin C is vital for all kinds of functions in the body. From the immune system to bone health to blood vessels, it’s a fundamental nutrient. The eyes are no exception, and as with just about every other organ system in the body, healthy vision depends on vitamin C. Studies show that it slows age-related vision decline and may have specific benefits for the lens of the eye. Oranges are also high in bioflavonoids which promote eye health and make vitamin C more bioavailable.
Waking up to Wellness
Now that non-stop scrolling is infused into almost every aspect of our lives, and we are exposed to more blue light than ever, it makes sense to take extra steps to protect your eye health from the everyday strain. From our point of view, the best way to do this is to fuel your body with the antioxidants it needs to protect the cells in your eyes from everyday oxidative stress. OptiWell provides nutrients that benefit eye health all in one easy-to-swallow softgel. So it’s great to get all of these nutrients from your diet, but just in case you don’t always get all of your vegetables in, OptiWell is there for you to fall back on. OptiWell has really potent amounts of antioxidants such as astaxanthin, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin, so you can feel assured you are getting the right amounts to protect your eyes from the daily strain that the technology around us can cause.