How Good Nutrition Can Help Your Eyes

When Mom told you to eat your broccoli, she may not have realized that she was encouraging good vision health habits as well! Recent studies have shown that certain nutrients can have a positive effect on the wellness of the visual system.

How Good Nutrition Can Help Your Eyes
How Good Nutrition Can Help Your Eyes

When Mom told you to eat your broccoli, she may not have realized that she was encouraging good vision health habits as well! Recent studies have shown that certain nutrients can have a positive effect on the wellness of the visual system.

A 2012 report from the Ocular Nutrition Society listed three nutrients that are key to healthy eyes and vision:


  • Omega-3 fatty acids - Found in fish oils (especially sardines and wild-caught salmon) and flaxseed.
  • Lutein - Found in dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale), corn and egg yolks. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend 4-8 milligrams of lutein daily; ½ cup of cooked spinach provides 6 milligrams
  • Zeaxanthin - Also found in dark green leafy vegetables and corn as well as orange peppers. The USDA has not established recommendations for the daily intake of zeaxanthin. 

Both lutein and zeaxanthin are a form of vitamin A and, along with omega-3s, may support a healthy macula, the area of the retina that is responsible for our most accurate vision. They may also reduce the risk of cataracts. Omega-3s can also help in the treatment of dry eyes.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), important research done by the National Eye Institute, found that certain antioxidants can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration by about 25%. Here they are listed along with the best sources: 

  • Vitamin C - Citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, papaya
  • Vitamin E - Nuts, fortified cereals, sweet potatoes 
  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene) - Leafy green vegetables, as well as orange and red vegetables
  • Zinc - Oysters, red meat, poultry, seafood

The levels of vitamins and minerals used in the AREDS studies are high and often difficult to obtain from the average diet. Nutritional supplements for eye health are available. You should discuss with your eye care provider which are best for you. In any case, a healthy, balanced diet not only contributes to overall wellness, but keeps your eyes healthy, too. 

Provided by Linda Chous, O.D. Dr. Linda Chous has more than 20 years of experience in private practice and is a specialist in pediatric optometry. She is past president of the Minnesota Optometric Association. As the Chief Eye Care Officer for United Healthcare, she provides clinical leadership for the advancement and delivery of eye care wellness and disease management programs.

Have you ever gotten to the last little bit of a vegetable or fruit and thought they only thing left to do was toss it? Or maybe you didn't get to one before it looked like it should be thrown out? Well there's no need to create more food waste! Here are two foods you can regrow right at home instead of throwing out.

Leftover Ginger

  1. Fill a bowl or cup with water and place your bit of ginger root inside.
  2. After a few weeks, watch for little sprouts to form.
  3. At this point, transfer the ginger to some potted soil. Give it plenty of space and moisture.
  4. After a few weeks, harvest your new ginger root!

Sprouted Potato

  1. Note where the sprouts (or eyes) are on the potato. Cut it in half so there are sprouts on both halves.
  2. Let the halves dry out overnight on a paper towel.
  3. Plant the dried potato halves in soil, cut side down.
  4. Small potatoes will be ready to harvest in about 10 weeks, while larger potatoes will be ready in about three to four months.

There's no need for food waste here when you know the tips and tricks to use up all your food at home. And click here to see which foods you can keep past the Sell By date!