Spring is in the air across the United States, and with the changing seasons comes a classic family activity: spring-cleaning. Marie Kondo may have taught you how to master your closet, but what about what you’re putting in your body? While there has not yet been a cure found for ADOA and similar degenerative mitochondrial diseases, there are plenty of essential foods you can eat to help preserve the eyesight you still have. We reviewed suggestions from medical publications such as All About Vision and Medical News Today to put together a list of the ten food items you should make sure you have in your kitchen this spring.
Fish is consistently listed as the number one food to improve and preserve eyesight, due to its abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. You can find these in oily fishes such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids are credited with reversing common conditions such as dry eye.
Carrots and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins A and C. These foods, including bell peppers and tomatoes, also include carotenoids. These compounds are what cause the vegetables’ bright colors and are currently being studied for their role in boosting vision.
Citrus fruits are known for their abundance of vitamin C. This antioxidant is highly recommended by the American Optometric Association in order to prevent vision loss and diseases such as cataracts.
Eggs have a plethora of vision-protecting nutrients. Two of eggs’ nutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, are critical in supporting eye health. Eggs also contain vitamins C and E and zinc, which helps prevent loss of vision due to aging.
Nuts are similar to eggs in that they have plenty of vision-supporting nutrients such as vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Most nuts are great for eye health, including walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, and almonds – the options are endless!
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin from the plants’ green pigments. Other green vegetables will also give you these carotenoids, such as broccoli and peas.
Sweet potatoes contain plenty of vitamin E. They also have beta-carotene, which helps the body make vitamin A. Sweet potatoes can be the perfect option for a healthy, nutrient-rich dessert.
Legumes are key to protecting your retina because of their abundance of bioflavonoids and zinc. Bioflavonoids help enhance vitamin C and lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Seeds are similar to nuts and legumes, in that they are rich in vitamin E. Sunflower seeds specifically also contain zinc, and chia seeds and flax seeds are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Beef is a common source of zinc, but make sure to eat it in moderation. Chicken and pork can be good substitutes as well, but their concentration of zinc is typically almost half that of beef.
Please see the links below for more resources on what foods that are best to maintain eye health. While there are no foods that will repair the damage caused to the optic nerve, it is crucial to eat well and support your remaining vision.
American Academy of Ophthalmology: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/diet-nutrition
American Optometric Association: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition/vitamin-c
All About Vision: https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/foods.htm
Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321226.php