5 dietary changes that age-proof your vision

A Caucasian woman getting an eye examination

I still remember the first time that I understood that my eyesight just wasn’t what it used to be.

At the time, I had just passed the 40 mark and was sitting in bed reading my Kindle to relax and unwind before getting some shuteye. My husband looked over and laughed a little and asked if I thought I had the font big enough or not.

Yup, slowly over time, without even realizing it, I had been increasing the font to ensure the words on each page were as easy to read as they had been years before.

That’s when I knew that I had to do something about my vision — an area of my health that I was previously ignoring despite the fact that logically I knew how important it was.

I immediately began to research my options and landed on five separate yet simple changes to my daily dietary routine that helped me see better, improve my eye health and age-proof my vision. And now, I’m going to share them with you too…

#1 — Don’t skip the whole grains

There’s a reason why people with diabetes live with the real risk of vision problems, including blindness. Basically, when your blood sugar rises steeply, it damages your retina over time.

More Americans are prediabetic than they realize, so it’s a good idea to get spiking blood sugar under control.

Whole grains can help. They work to keep your blood sugar level so that it doesn’t impact your eye health. And to top it off, whole grains provide additional benefits for your vision by:

  • Increasing the amount of vitamin E, zinc and niacin in your diet which decreases your risk of age-related macular degeneration
  • Protecting the tissue of your eyes from inflammation and damage due to light exposure

Some of the best whole grains to include in your diet are quinoa, amaranth, oats, brown rice and barley.

#2 — Add in good fats

The quality fats found in fish and flaxseed known as omega-3s have been shown to reduce the problems of dry eye that can lead to inflammation.

Harvard Health specifically recommends the omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA found in cold water fish. That’s because studies have shown that it helps to prevent the buildup of a toxic molecule called A2E in your eyes that leads to vision loss.

Because of this, DHA may help to prevent macular degeneration — the most common causes of vision loss as you age.

One of the easiest ways to get more DHA in your diet (and the only thing I was actually already doing right when it came to my vision) is to take a high quality fish oil supplement.

#3 — Grab some antioxidant power

The antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin have been found in scientific studies to have the power to protect your retina from the oxidative changes caused by exposure to the UV rays of the sun.

Basically, that ultraviolet light results in free radical buildup in your retina which if left unchecked can damage your vision.

But, lutein and zeaxanthin — potent plant pigments known as carotenoids — scavenge those free radicals before they have the chance to do harm.

So, if you aren’t already including them in your diet, your vision could be steadily worsening as was mine.

The best sources for these two plant pigments are:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Peas

#4 — Limit salt

High levels of dietary sodium have been linked to cataract formation. This makes it important to keep your sodium intake low.

Your target should be 2,000 mg per day or less in order to keep your vision sharp.

The easiest way to do this is to eat fresh rather than processed, canned, or fast food since those are some of the worst offenders when it comes to high sodium levels.

#5 — Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

It can be easy to forget how important drinking enough water is, yet hydration effects all aspects of your health, vision included.

Be sure to stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day to reduce dry eye problems and the irritation and vision loss that come with them.

Good vision is something too many of us take for granted until it’s gone. Get started today to keep your peepers at peak health!