It’s not even 10:00 am yet and my eyes have already given me a full day’s worth of enjoyment. I’ve seen my daughter Brittany, my husband, our cats, coffee, a piece of Dove Chocolate candy, blue jays, woodpeckers, more coffee, sparrows, cardinals, e-mail messages, tweets, more coffee… Stop for a second and think about all of the beautiful things your eyes have seen – just in the past 12 hours even! It may sound like the front of a Hallmark card, but our eyes really are our windows to the world.
The problem is, as we age, these windows can potentially become impaired. Fortunately, there are plenty of things we can do to keep that from happening – allowing us the beautiful, unobstructed view we have today for years and years and years to come.
Below are tips for eye health, including foods that are excellent for your eyes. Shouldn’t we be as mindful of our eyes as we are our waists and minds? Absolutely!
- See an eye doctor regularly. If you haven’t been in awhile, make an appointment today. It doesn’t matter if you think you can see perfectly well or not. A professional can spot potential problems LONG before we know they’re there. Many eye problems (that could potentially cloud our windows to the world) can be fixed, but they have to be detected first. If you haven’t been in the past year, GO! Then, be certain to keep future appointments. Of all the doctors in the world, optometrists are the least painful. They don’t even make you step on a scale. Love them for that.
- If you have corrective lenses, wear them religiously. When you squint or have to struggle to “make something out,” you’re straining your eyes.
- If you work at a computer, like me, be sure to take frequent breaks. Experts suggest taking at least a ten minute break every two hours.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the risk of cataracts and glaucoma.
- If you have high blood pressure, get it under control and keep it under control. Having high blood pressure seems to increase your risk of glaucoma.
- Keep your diabetes under control. Diabetics are at risk for eye problems if their disease isn’t monitored. Be strict with your diet and exercise routines.
- Get some form of exercise or activity each day. It’s as good for your eyes as the rest of you.
- Frequently eat foods with eye-protecting nutrients and vitamins (see the list below).
- Get at least 5 hours of sleep each night to allow your eyes to rejuvenate and recharge.
- Wear sunglasses outside and protective eye wear when working with chemicals – or even when doing yard work.
Foods and Drinks that Help Protect Your Eyes
- Carrots, of course! The beta-carotene found in carrots is wonderful for protecting your eyes from a host of problems.
- As great as carrots are for your eyes, research shows that there is a food that’s EVEN better for protecting our vision: Spinach. The protective benefits come from lutein found in spinach.
- Drink LOTS of water.
- Corn, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables help maintain your sight and even improve the health of your eyes.
- Vitamin C helps protect against cataracts. Foods and drinks rich in Vitamin C include citrus fruits, oranges, juices, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
- Flavonoids also protect our eyes. Eat lots of these foods: Onions, oats, broccoli, tomatoes, apples, cranberries, strawberries, tea, cranberry juice, tomato juice, and grape juice.
- Omega 3’s (which seem to be great for everything, actually!) are wonderful for your eyes. Eat lots of salmon and tuna and/or take supplements.
- Aim for 3 servings of fruit daily.
Whenever I do research for a particular disease or situation, I’m always amazed at how many foods, drinks, and activities overlap. We’d be wise to simply EAT WHAT WE KNOW WE SHOULD EAT, DRINK MORE WATER THAN WE’RE DRINKING, MOVE MORE, GET PLENTY OF REST, and USE COMMON SENSE WHEN IT COMES TO SAFETY. I’m in. You?