What to Eat for Healthy Eyes

Eye Health
By: Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN

Our eyes are so crucial to our everyday activities, whether that’s to write this blog post, drive a car, eat our food, commute to work, stop at a crosswalk, etc., so we need to keep them healthy. Typically eye health revolves around methods like wearing glasses for electronic screen use and practicing eye exercise, but one that often goes unmentioned is the importance of what we eat. Both plant and animal-based foods contain tons of nutrients that can help to nourish all of the different parts of our eyes, and can help prevent health issues like age-related macular degeneration and night blindness.

Here are 7 key nutrients that can help keep your eyes healthy (and the foods that contain these nutrients).


Beta-carotene is a nutrient that is part of the carotenoid family and acts as a powerful antioxidant in both the body and in the eyes. Specifically, beta-carotene may help to promote night vision and it also helps to prevent and repair cellular damage in the eye.

Foods rich in beta-carotene:
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash
  • Peppers (red, yellow and orange)
  • Broccoli
  • Green leafy vegetables

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is known for its powerful boost for the immune system, but its true attribute is as an antioxidant in the body, helping to prevent and fight damage to our cells. Vitamin C is also a precursor to collagen, so it works nicely to help promote skin health. When it comes to the eyes, vitamin C plays a role in helping to reduce the risk for macular degeneration and cataracts.

Foods rich in vitamin C:

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant both around the body and in the eyes. Research suggests that vitamin E may also help to slow macular degeneration.

 Foods rich in vitamin E:
  • Almonds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin
  • Beet greens
  • Red peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Peanut butter
  • Mango
  • Swordfish

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are those that our bodies cannot make, specifically omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids get a lot of press because they’re great for us, and for the most part, aren’t abundant in the Western Diet. Omega-3’s (found in both plant and animal sources) are touted for their anti-inflammatory properties that affect both blood vessels and joints to help prevent inflammation, the number one cause of disease. Omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent dry eyes, promote healthy function of the retina and also help with keeping eyes healthy overall.

Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acid:
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Salmon and other fatty fish
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower

Zinc is a key nutrient that has many functions in the body like promoting thyroid and immune health but it’s also a key nutrient that may help to reduce the risk for macular degeneration.

Foods rich in zinc:
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin and squash seeds
  • Cashews
  • Cocoa and cocoa powder
  • Mung beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Oysters and shellfish
  • Beef
  • Poultry

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Both lutein and zeaxanthin are members of the carotenoid family (like beta-carotene) and research suggests that both lutein and zeaxanthin may help to slow age-related macular degeneration, and may also help to protect our eyes from cataracts.

Foods rich in lutein & zeaxanthin:
  • Eggs (lutein only)
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Green beans
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Corn
  • Oranges and tangerines
  • Papaya
  • Celery
  • Tomato juice
  • Peaches
  • Carrots
  • Melon

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Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN

Isabel is a Registered Dietitian, wellness expert and fitness coach. Isabel has her own nutrition and wellness practice based in New York City, Isabel Smith Nutrition, but she works with clients and corporations both nationwide and worldwide in a variety of areas including skin health, weight loss, gastrointestinal issues and allergies, sports nutrition, general wellness and more. As a Guided Reboot coach, Isabel has helped hundreds juice their way to better health. When she isn’t helping clients achieve optimal nutrition and wellness, she can be found trying and creating new juices and making other healthy recipes, running, cooking, spinning, practicing yoga, and enjoying time with her two Yorkshire terriers. Isabel is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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