A wide range of colors in your meals does much more than make your plate look attractive; it also means you are consuming several natural pigments, some of which have significant benefits for eye health. With spring bringing numerous new fruits and vegetables into season, try to include some of these colorful foods great for eyes in your next home-cooked dishes.
Colorful Spring Fruits and Vegetables
The most common vegetable cited as good for your eye health is, of course, the carrot, which contain a high level of betacarotene, useful for night vision, explains North Dakota State University (NDSU). However, there are two other carotenoids that keep eyes healthy: lutein and zeaxanthin, and these appear as yellow to red pigments in several spring veggies:
Eye Health Benefits of Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Both lutein and zeaxanthin function as antioxidants, protecting the body from cell-destroying free radicals. They also contain nutrients that can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Recent research has also that meso-zeaxanthin, a third carotenoid, is present in the macula; but, rather than being contained in food, it is created by the body from ingested lutein.
Age-related macular degeneration
Lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of light-induced oxidative damage by stopping high-energy light (or blue light) from entering the retina. Several studies suggest that this may be able to both prevent and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, reports All About Vision.
Other research suggests women that eat a diet rich in the carotenoids have a lower risk of cataracts. However, when taken as a supplement, there is no evidence that either carotenoid has any affect on cataracts.
A balanced diet, rich in colorful foods, is only one way to protect your children’s eye health. It is equally important to keep kids safe from damaging UV rays, as overexposure to sunlight can lead to the same conditions lutein and zeaxanthin prevent. Check out the Real Kids collection to choose from a number of fashionable and protective styles.