Eye

Tip: Combat digital eyestrain and preserve your vision for the future with foods that feed your eyes and promote eye health.

By the Chef Marshall O’Brien Group

Many of us take our vision for granted – until something goes wrong. The average American spends seven hours per day staring at a screen. According to the American Optometric Association, this puts most of us at risk for vision damage, sleep problems and more, due to overexposure to blue light from smartphones, tablets and other technology. March is National Save Your Vision Month, and is a perfect time to refocus your awareness on eye health. While you may find it difficult to curb your screen time – especially if you work at a computer – you can lessen the effects of digital eyestrain and protect your eyesight for the future by choosing foods that promote healthy eyes and good vision.

Orange Fruits and Vegetables

Your parents weren’t kidding when they told you carrots are good for your eyes. Carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash, are loaded with the orange pigment beta-carotene. This potent antioxidant and form of vitamin A helps you see at night and helps form the mucous membranes that protect and hydrate your eyes. Get a delicious dose of beta-carotene with Chef Marshall’s Roasted Carrots with Poblano Cream.

Dark Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, broccoli and other dark leafy greens contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants, found in high concentrations in the retina, lens and macula of the eye, act as a sunblock, protecting the eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Consuming high amounts of these antioxidants reduces your risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. A daily dose of one and a half cups of dark leafy greens also protects against glaucoma.

Cold Water Fish

Salmon, sardines and halibut are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent age-related macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. Two to three servings of omega-3 rich fish per week helps keep your eyes well lubricated and protects your vision.

Nuts and Seeds

High in vitamin E, nuts and seeds help combat oxidative stress, which is the direct cause of most common eye diseases. A daily serving of sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts or avocados helps neutralize oxidation and protect vulnerable eye tissue.

Vitamin C-Rich Fruits and Veggies

The fluid that nourishes and protects the cornea and lens of the eye and protects eyes from oxidative damage is loaded with vitamin C. Consuming vitamin C-rich produce, like citrus fruits, bell peppers, berries and kiwi fruit may lower your risk of developing cataracts.

Oysters

Oysters are the richest source of zinc, which is abundant in the retina and works in conjunction with vitamin A to protect the eye and improve vision, especially at night. Stress, exercise and illness all deplete this critical mineral, so enjoy oysters and other good sources of zinc, like beef, lamb, shrimp, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, beans and quinoa to maintain adequate levels.

Protect Your Future Vision

Maintaining your eyesight is one of the most important things you can do to ensure yourself a high quality of life as you age. Don’t wait until your vision deteriorates before attending to the health of your eyes. Nourish yourself with vision-protecting foods, take frequent breaks from staring at screens and get plenty of sleep. By choosing smart nutrition that supports eye health, you protect one of your most valuable senses and preserve your eyesight for the future. A lifetime of good vision is worth it!

You will love the way you feel!

Chef Marshall O’BrienThe Chef Marshall O’Brien Group is a dedicated assembly of professionals based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, committed to the goal of using nutrition to get kids and families to lead happier, healthier lives.