Oranges, carrots, kumquats, cantaloupes, peaches, persimmons, guava, papaya, mangoes, pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and salmon. What do all these foods have in common? These vibrant fruits, vegetables, and, yes, fish aren’t just eye-catching—they also offer up a bounty of vitamins and nutrients that are good for your eyes, including “eye achievers” beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Probably the best known for eye health, beta carotene is what makes an orange orange. It doesn’t just provide the color, though. As a powerful antioxidant and precursor to Vitamin A, beta carotene promotes good eye health by protecting the cells of the eyes from free radical damage caused by pollution and sun exposure. Beta carotene can also delay cognitive aging and protect skin from sun damage.
Vitamin A, commonly referred to as retinal, retinol, and retonoic acid, is important for both normal and night vision. Other antioxidant benefits include neutralizing the damaging free radicals in the body and supporting your immune system.
Vitamin C is essential to eye health, as it nourishes the eyes and protects them from oxidative stress. Vitamin C can help prevent eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. This antioxidant also protects against cardiovascular disease, boosts the immune system, and helps rebuild collagen in the skin.
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as you’d find in salmon and other fatty fish, can help relieve dry eyes, in addition to helping protect your peepers against retinal degeneration. And it doesn’t hurt that omega-3 is also good for helping keep your cholesterol in check.
Now that you know why orange-colored foods are such a great choice for maintaining healthy eyes, how would you like some great-tasting, eye-healthy recipes? We’ve got ’em for you at Emory Healthcare’s Recipes for Wellness. Taste test the amazing butternut squash lasagna recipe, yummy glazed carrots, or our delicious roasted acorn squash with chile-lime vinaigrette.