Go Green for Healthy Eyes

What we eat affects the health of our eyes. Dark green leafy vegetables are rich in the antioxidants lutein (pronounced loo-teen) and zeaxanthin (pronounced zee-uh-zan-thin). The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) found that lutein and zeaxanthin, lowered the risk of developing age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) by about 25%.

AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in older adulthood. It affects nearly 10 million Americans. Both lutein and zeaxanthin are stored in the macula of the human eye. They help filter light and protect and maintain healthy eye cells

Since the body does not naturally make the lutein and zeaxanthin, it’s important that our diets provide it. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids, the substances that give fruits and vegetables their deep green, yellow, and orange colors. Thus eating a variety of dark green, yellow and orange foods will help. Try to include these lutein-rich foods in your daily meal plans:

  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Yellow sweet corn
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Green peas
  • Winter squash (e.g., butternut, acorn)
  • Arugula
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Pumpkin
  • Egg yolks
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
Greens  like spinach and swiss chard

Adapted from American Optometric Association (www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition/lutein)

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