Every morning I wash my face and gently pat eye cream under my eyes to help prevent wrinkles. And most days I put on concealer, eye shadow, and mascara so my eyes look just so. But what I was neglecting to do, until I started working with Baush & Lomb’s eye and vitamin supplement Ocuvite, was to think about the health of my actual eyes.
Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D,. and Helen Rasmussen, Ph.D., R.D., nutrition researchers at Tufts University, recently published a paper in Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging identifying the specific nutrients linked to eye health. Antioxidants vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and the omega-3 fatty acids eicosahexaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the key ones we all need—but most Americans don't meet the daily recommendations for these.
“Many adults don’t think about their eye health or sight until it’s too late to reverse the damage their eyes may have sustained,” Johnson said in a press release. “Our research shows that incorporating proper nutrition and nutritional supplementation into their diet can help adults maintain their eye health. It’s a small step that can go a long way.”
There are many common and great tasting foods that you can find these nutrients in:
Vitamin C: citrus fruit, berries, tomatoes, and broccoli
Vitamin E: vegetable oils, wheat germ, nuts, and legumes
Zinc: oysters, beef, and other meats, as well as nuts (especially peanuts) and seeds, legumes, wheat germ, and shellfish
Lutein and zeaxanthin: kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, Brussels sprouts, and eggs
Omega-3 fatty acids: cold water oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), walnuts, and flax
Beta-carotene: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and spinach
And adding them to your diet can be so easy. For example, throw spinach into your salad and sprinkle on some flax seeds. Munch on kale chips instead of potato chips. Top your morning cereal with nuts and berries. Fire up the grill with some salmon steaks. These small changes also make your diet healthier overall, as these nutrients positively impact other parts of your body as well.
And if you’re not getting enough of these nutrients through diet alone, you might want to consider taking a daily eye vitamin. For me, I look at it like an insurance policy. I take calcium supplements for my bones and fish oil for my heart, but what about my eyes? So for now on, instead of just eating with my eyes and making my eyes look pretty, I am going to start eating for my eyes.