Want to Improve Your Eyesight Naturally? These 21 Foods Can Help
Watch what you eat: From carrots to lobia, here are 21 foods that can help improve your eye health.
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Eye Check. Reality Check. Food Check. Yes, not many people know that the foods we eat can have a huge impact on the overall health of our eyes, and not just the eye sight.
There are certain compounds that we need to supply via our diet to make sure that they stay functioning well. And more often than not most of us do not focus on these.
Truly the easiest way to ensure eye health is to plate the foods that help. Below is a list.
Part I: Get The 'A' Advantage
Our body converts beta carotene found in plant foods into vitamin A (retinol).
So basically beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A and is essential for boosting not just our immunity but our eye health big time too.
Two particular carotenoids - lutein and zeaxanthin are known to help reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration (deterioration of the retina that causes blurred or reduced central vision), and also helps facilitate better lubrication for the eyes (dry eyes thanks to the multiple gadgets we are glued to is a huge problem today).
Zeaxanthin, in fact also forms a protective layer over our retina and saves it from the harmful effects of ultra violet rays and keeps our eyes healthy. Make sure you eat at least two of these below mentioned everyday to score these two crucial eye health compounds.
Try this: make spiced carrot sticks by soaking carrot sticks in hot water spiced with cayenne, coriander seeds and salt. Allow to cool, drain and serve.
Green bell peppers
Try this: if you don’t like them raw just steam cook or stir fry them lightly. Interestingly this further increases the efficacy of antioxidants in the bell peppers.
Black eyed peas (lobia)
Try this: make a lobia salad by mixing it up with carrot, spinach, broccoli (other good vitamin A sources), and score a great dish for your eyes.
Try this: For a quick breakfast just blend Greek yogurt (or regular yoghurt), vanilla extract or cocoa powder, a frozen banana, and a sliced, ripe papaya.
Try this: Add pumpkin to smoothies, purée into soups, mix into oats, stir into plain yogurt and top with cinnamon, whisk pumpkin into cheesy pasta sauces.
Try this: Just toss steamed corn kernels in an olive oil-salt-pepper-herbs dressing and bite in as you watch rain go pitter patter on the window shields.
Note: it has been found that cooking can increase the amount of lutein levels in corn, so go on add it to soups, and casseroles liberally.
Try this: blend a handful of spinach leaves, 1 cucumber, half a green apple, 1 cup fresh coconut milk and sip. You can add some seeds for good fats too.
Try this: To make a mango lassi in a blender, combine 1 mango, 1-cup yoghurt, 1 tbsp honey or 2 dates and ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.
Try this: The best ways to cook them are steaming, roasting but they can also be boiled and pureed to be used as porridge.
Try this: Cut watermelon into festive shapes and top with cottage cheese.
Try this: have a tsp of ghee added to warm milk at bedtime.
Note: Ghee is actually a great source of healthy fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K, that our body needs a supply of regularly. A is essential to keep our eyesight sharp and skin moist and smiling with health.
Try this: The easiest way to eat custard apples is to just cut it in half or pull apart with your hands and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh to eat. Try adding a little lime juice for a complementary flavour.
Part II: Multiple benefit foods
These nuts deliver zeaxanthin (that protects the retina from UV light) and also zinc which enables vitamin A to create a pigment called melanin, which protects the eye.
Try this: Munch on them, add to poha, dalia and upma, use liberally in cakes and muffins and more.
Guava is loaded with both vitamin A and lycopene. In fact the pink guava fruit provides twice the amount than what a lycopene superfood like tomato delivers. Lycopene may help prevent or delay the formation of cataracts and reduce your risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults.
Try this: You can of course just bite into a fresh fruit, make a nice salad out of it, or cook with it. Try making a guava soup.
This underrated berry is an eyesight saver. It has carotene that helps strengthen our vision and prevent age-related degeneration and also delivers vitamin C that works on multiple fronts - gives strength the eye muscles, helps prevent cataract and also protects the ocular tissue, optic nerve, and retina.
Try this: have amla powder (to make dry the amla in shade for few days and then grind it in a grinder) that you can just gulp with water or have it sprinkled on a fruit - banana or papaya.
It delivers lots of beta carotene (sharp eyes). Plus one cup of broccoli has more vitamin C than even an orange, enough to take care of your day’s requirement.
Try this: Make it a centrepiece of your salad, stir fry it, grill (or steam) it and enjoy with a dip, or blend with garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and seasonings to make an interesting sauce
This has abundant A (and some flavonoid pigments like xanthin, lutein) in it that help maintain sharp eyes (and smooth skin). These keep vision-related problems like macular degeneration and night blindness away.
Try this: Try kathal ki biryani. This unusual biryani made with fried raw jackfruit pieces cooked with a delicious blend of spices and rice is an addictive dish. To give it a contemporary twist, pair it with quinoa or couscous.
Salmon delivers a lot of omega 3 that helps keep inflammation in the body down which is good news for our eyes too. Plus it delivers antioxidant astaxanthin, which also provides protection against blindness.
Try this: just marinate and pan fry or grill the fish and pair with a vitamin A rich vegetables stir fry.
Eat the egg with the yolk as it is packed with multiple sight friendly nutrients like lutein, omega 3, vitamin E and zinc.
Try this: have them boiled, as an omelette, in a salad, in any way you like them but make sure you eat them at leats three times a week.
Part III: There’s More
Fox nuts (makhana)
These deliver a lot of vitamin B1. Vitamin B1 deficiency has been linked to vision trouble, so makhanas may be your answer for a super sharp vision.
Try this: Soaked overnight, they become soft and can be added as is to salads, curries, soups, and desserts. And definitely make and eat makhana kheer.regular rice kheer.
Curcumin that turmeric delivers can help protect our retina from free radicals that lead to macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss. Try this: add liberally to all your tadka's and have haldi doodh once a day (warm milk plus turmeric plus ghee plus a pinch of pepper)
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)
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