Seven foods that may help to protect your eyesight

What to eat to keep your eyes healthy

Kale

As we get older, it's natural for our sight to worsen. While eye problems are more common with age, there are ways you can help to protect the health of your eyes. As well as going for regular eye tests, here are seven foods you may want to add to your diet.

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1. Kale
Research shows that eating a diet high in lutein and zeaxanthin can improve your eyesight and may prevent the macular from suffering age-related damage. These carotenoid pigments can be found in a variety of foods, but the richest source is cooked kale.

2. Oily fish
If you're concerned about dry eye syndrome, consider adding fatty fish to your diet. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help to prevent the condition, which is more common in older people.

Not only that, omega-3 rich foods can help to prevent macular degeneration. Try eating salmon, mackerel or sardines two to three times a week. Not keen on fish? Consider taking a fish oil supplement or add omega-3 rich flax seeds or chia seeds to your diet.

3. Almonds
According to research from the US National Eye Institute, a regular intake of vitamin E can help to reduce your risk of developing cataracts by 25%. Good sources of vitamin E include almonds, extra-virgin olive oil and sunflower seeds.

4. Get your zinc
Zinc is one of the main components of the pigment melanin, which protects the eyes from UV-induced damage, as well as age-related conditions such as cataracts. Good sources of zinc include prawns, oysters and red meat. Leafy greens and pulses are good plant-based sources of the mineral.

5. Carrots
Your parents told you to eat carrots if you want to see in the dark, and it seems there's some wisdom in the advice. Carrots are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body.

Vitamin A is essential for general eye health and clear vision, and may help prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Like kale, you should eat your carrots cooked to get the most benefit.

6. Eggs
Egg yolks are another good source of the all-important lutein and zeaxanthin pigments. In addition, the compounds are more easily absorbed from eggs than eating fruit and vegetables.

Research shows that regularly eating eggs can lower the risk of cataracts by as much as 18% and protect the macula from age-related degeneration. Enjoy eggs two or three times a week to benefit – and make sure to eat the yolk as well as the white.

7. Blackberries
Blackberries are bursting with anthocyanins, the pigments that give them their dark colour. This powerful antioxidant has been shown to prevent and slow the progression of age-related conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Other purple foods, such as blueberries, blackcurrants and dark olives, also contain anthocyanin.