Vision impairments are becoming a common problem with estimated rates expected to double affecting more than 8 million by 2050. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 76% of individuals don’t meet the minimum fruit recommendations, and 87% don’t receive the recommended amount of vegetables in their diet. Research shows that fruits and vegetables contain the essential nutrients we need for healthy vision, with more evidence stressing on the importance of adopting a plant-based diet to preserving clear vision for years to come.
Bioflavonoids are a group of thousands of nutrients found in plant food, providing a handful of benefits for vision. They bind metals to prevent them from causing oxidative damage to the eyes. These nutrients are not only antioxidants but are anti-allergy, anti-infectious, and anti-inflammatory. Plant sources high in bioflavonoids are apples, citrus fruits, red and sweet peppers, and spinach.
Phytic acid is a super nutrient that minimizes the effects of metals like aluminum, cadmium, mercury, and lead, binding and removing them out of the body to prevent oxidative damage. It also has a role in maintaining messengers that relay signals between cells that help clean up debris from the retina. Phytic acid is found in beans, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. However, phytic acid can bind to good metals such as iron, which is essential for transporting iron to red blood cells. Soaking beans and incorporating vitamin C with phytic-rich foods encourages a balanced amount of phytic acid.
The healthy food vision plate calls for veggies for lunch, snack, and dinner. Adding a salad to one full meal each day will give 3 or more servings of vegetables with a heaping dose of eye loving nutrients such as zeaxanthin, bioflavonoids, glutathione, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E.
Fruits contain multiple vitamins and nutrients that can help maintain vision. Berries, citrus, and melons have a modest amount of vitamin C and quercetin, boosting the body’s antioxidant capacity. Tropical fruits and common everyday fruits (apples, bananas, peaches) contain vitamin A, glutathione, and troxerutin for increased blood flow and reducing inflammation.
There are benefits adopting a plant-based diet, for those in good health, preventing disease, and for those already with eye, conditions to prevent worsening. Plants are indeed the tools that go a long way to helping you achieve a healthy vision.