"Eating a balanced diet can work wonders for maintaining healthy eyes vision. There are certain foods that contain the nutrients, minerals and vitamins that our eyes need to function in the best way."
Dr Andy Hepworth
It's long been said that carrots help people to see in the dark.
But the vegetable - and other key foods – can actually can have a positive effect on your overall eye health, according to an expert in eye health Dr Andy Hepworth from essilor.co.uk.
For eye health specifically, Dr Andy Hepworth recommends foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fats and beta-carotene; vitamins such as C and E, which reduce the risks of developing AMD, and zinc and cerotenoids. Sources of vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin also promote good eye health.
He has put together a list of the top five foods that will keep your eyes healthy.
SALMON - fish, particularly wild caught salmon and tuna, can be a great food to consume for eye health. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can contribute to visual development and good health of the retina. Omega-3 can also help prevent dry eye.
KALE AND SPINACH - this leafy green is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are related to vitamin A and beta carotene, and may help protect eye tissues from sunlight damage and reduce the risk of eye changes related to aging. It also contains vitamin C and beta carotene, other eye-friendly nutrients.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SWEET POTATO - packed with beta carotene, the body converts beta carotene in sweet potatoes into vitamin A, a nutrient that helps prevent dry eyes and night blindness. Beta carotene and vitamin A also may help reduce the risk eye infections. Other foods that are good sources of beta carotene, include carrots and butternut squash, plus dark green foods including spinach and collard greens. Liver, milk and eggs are other great sources of vitamin A.
BLUEBERRIES - blueberries are packed with antioxidants and may help to reduce your risk of cataracts, glaucoma and other eye conditions. They’re high in the soluble fibre pectin, which can help lower cholesterol, which helps keep your whole body healthy.
APRICOTS - apricots are super rich in carotenoids; beta carotene and lycopene both of which help to absorb harmful blue light and near ultraviolet light in order to help protect the retina. They are also an excellent source of vitamin A, C and E. These vitamins help you to maintain good vision, overall eye health and can help protect the lens of your eye by blocking cell-damaging free radicals. One apricot has 13% of your daily value of vitamin A.
High vitamin A consumption can help to reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
He says: “You’ve probably heard the saying ‘carrots are good for seeing in the dark’, while this is partially correct they won’t let you see you in complete darkness! Carrots are a great source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, nutrition that help prevent eye infections and eye conditions, such nyctalopia or night blindness. But there’s more food than just carrots that influence good eye health. Our new recipe guide shows easy ways to introduce some of these foods into a varied, balanced diet to help promote your vision.”
Eye-friendly nutrients explained
Beta-carotene - Converts into vitamin A, which helps prevent eye conditions by protecting the eye from free radicals.
Lutein - Reduces the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts and AMD.
Omega-3 - Promotes optimal visual development and retinal function.
Vitamin A - Good for the eye surface and helps prevent eye infections and eye conditions.
Vitamin C - Lowers the risk of developing cataracts, can slow the progression of AMD and promotes healthy capillaries and absorption of iron.
Vitamin E - Protects cells of the eyes, reduces the progression of AMD and cataracts and benefits the health of cell membranes
Zeaxanthin - Helps filter harmful high energy blue light, protecting cells in the eyes particularly in the macular and reduces the risk of developing late AMD.
Zinc - Highly concentrated in the eye, zinc brings vitamin A from the liver to the eye. It supports people who are high-risk of AMD and those who are suffering the early stages of AMD.
Feast your eyes on these Recipes for Healthy Eyes
Eating a balanced diet can work wonders for maintaining healthy eyes and good vision, but there are certain foods that contain the nutrients, minerals and vitamins that our eyes need to function in the best way. These recipes are eye wateringly tasty and have all of the essential nutrients to promote good eye health.
Breakfast - Eggs Royale
Eggs and salmon are great sources of vitamin A and omega 3 respectively, making this breakfast dish an easy way to up your intake of important nutrients for your eyes. Vitamin A is important for the eye surface, helping to prevent infections, while omega 3 promotes visual development and retinal function.
1 breakfast muffin
2-4 slices of smoked salmon
Juice from a lemon
1 dessert spoon of white wine vinegar
3 egg yolks
150g unsalted butter
First, make the hollandaise sauce. Juice the lemon and add to a bowl with the vinegar. Add the egg yolks and whisk, until light and frothy.
Simmer some water in a pan, and place the bowl on top. Whisk until it thickens, then gradually add the butter.
Poach the eggs in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Toast the muffin and butter them, then add a couple of slices of salmon on each side of the muffin. Top with an egg and pour over the hollandaise sauce.
Lunch - Butternut squash soup
Butternut squash is a great source of vitamins A, C and E as well as zinc. All four have been known to play a part in healthy eyes. Vitamin C can lower your risk of developing cataracts, while vitamin E can protect the cells of your eyes. Zinc is responsible for bringing vitamin A from the liver to the eye.
1 butternut squash, peeled and deseeded
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 mild red chillies, deseeded and chopped
850ml vegetable stock
4 tbsp crème fraiche
Heat your oven to 200C or 180C for fan oven. Cut the butternut squash into large cubes and toss in a large roasting tin and a tbsp of olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once.
Melt 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan, and add the onions, garlic and three-quarters of the chillies. Cover and cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Tip the butternut squash into the pan, add the vegetable stock and 4 tbsp of crème fraiche. Whizz with a stick blender until smooth. Return to the pan and gently reheat.
Serve with extra swirls of crème fraiche and the leftover chilli.
Dinner - Chicken chow mein
This fakeaway-inspired dish is an easy way to get protein and seasonal vegetables into your diet. Chicken is another good source of vitamin A, while vegetables like peppers, carrots and mangetout can provide a necessary dose of vitamin C. You could also swap mangetout for broccoli.
400g egg noodles
100g mangetout (or green vegetables such as Kale, Spinach and broccoli)
3 cloves of garlic
4 spring onions
500g skinless chicken breast
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
9 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp oyster sauce
5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
Add 1 tbsp of cornflour and soy sauce to a bowl and mix until the cornflour is absorbed. Add the oyster sauce, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and set aside.
Chop your vegetables, and slice your garlic finely. Cook your egg noodles according to the packet, drain and leave in a bowl of cold water. Dice your chicken.
Crack the eggs into a bowl, and add 8 tablespoons of cornflour into another bowl. Dip the chicken in the egg, and then the flour. Add the chicken to a wok with a splash of vegetable oil. Cook and set aside.
Add a splash of oil to the pan with your vegetables, and then add the garlic. Mix everything in, then add the chicken and the sauce. Add your noodles and toss everything together.
Recipes from www.essilor.co.uk