9 Vitamins to Boost Eye Health
Your eyes are complex organs that need many different vitamins and nutrients to function properly. At Bite Club our meals are based on high or 100% plant-based ingredients. These are selected from a bank of over 150 superfoods to maximize the probiotic value to your body and power your immune system, and importantly to maximize the antioxidant content to help fight free radicals generated in everyday living.
Common conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts, can impact your eyes. Although a variety of different factors causes these conditions, nutrition seems to have an influence on all of them!
Here are 9 key vitamins and nutrients that help maintain eye health:
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays a critical role in vision by maintaining a clear cornea, which is the outside covering of your eye. This vitamin is also a component of rhodopsin, a protein in your eyes that allows you to see in low light conditions. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a serious condition called xerophthalmia, which can ultimately lead to blindness. Many studies suggest that diets rich in vitamin A can reduce cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Forget about vitamin A supplements- and load up your plate with nutritious superfoods instead, such as sweet potatoes, peppers and leafy greens. We love sweet potatoes here at Bite Club and include them in our Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Spanish Chicken.
2. Vitamin E
Oxidative stress is believed to be associated with many eye conditions. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in your body.Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that helps protect your cells — including your eye cells — from damage by free radicals, which are harmful, unstable molecules and can be the root cause of many cancers. It is recommended to follow a diet rich in vitamin E to maintain healthy eyes, as it may help to reduce the risk of cataracts. Options include nuts, seeds, salmon, avocado and leafy greens. Bite Club meals such as Asian Salmon Teriyaki and Japanese Salmon are meals that help to boost your eye health.
3. Vitamin C
Like vitamin E, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that may protect your eyes against damaging free radicals.
Furthermore, vitamin C is needed to create the protein collagen, which provides structure to your eye, in particular, the cornea and sclera. Vitamin C may help to protect against cataracts and prevent the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin C can be found in citrus and tropical fruits, bell peppers, broccoli and kale.
4. Vitamins B6, B9 and B12
B6, B9 and B12 are vitamins that may also help in boosting eye health.
This combination of vitamins can lower levels of homocysteine, a protein in your body that may be associated with inflammation and an increased risk of developing AMD.
This B vitamin is an antioxidant that can help to reduce oxidative stress in the body, including your eyes. Riboflavin may help to prevent cataracts, as many people with cataracts are often deficient in this antioxidant. Oats, milk and yoghurt are a great way to get your fix of riboflavin. Our Oat Pancakes with Yoghurt & Honey, Cranberry & Cinnamon Porridge Pot and Fruit & Seeds Porridge Pot provide a delicious serving of oats!
Also known as vitamin B3, niacin helps your body convert food into energy. Niacin is an antioxidant that may help to prevent the development of glaucoma. Foods such as poultry, fish, mushrooms, peanuts and legumes are great sources of niacin.
7. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
These carotenoids can be found in the retina and macula of your eyes and help to protect your eyes from damage. Lutein and zeaxanthin are plant compounds that can help to prevent cataracts and AMD. Fruits and vegetables such as cooked spinach, kale and collard greens are great sources of these carotenoids.
8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. The cell membranes of your retina contain a high concentration of DHA, a particular type of omega-3. As well as assisting in forming the cells of your eye, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to prevent diabetic retinopathy. Omega-3 fatty acids can help those with dry eye disease by helping them to produce more tears. To increase omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, include rich sources such as fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, soy, nuts and olive oil.
Also known as vitamin B1, thiamine assists with converting food into energy and proper cell function. Diets rich in thiamine may help to prevent cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Consume foods such as whole grains, meat and fish to reach your RDA of thiamine.