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Michelle Schoffro Cook

International Best-Selling & 20-Time Book Author, Celebrity Nutritionist

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Top 12 Foods and Herbs for Healthy Eyes

Blueberries and blackberries are great for eye health

While most people think of the foods they eat if they are suffering from digestive issues, few people consider how the foods they eat can keep their eyes and vision healthy for life. But the right foods can make a difference between strong and healthy eyes or a tendency toward eye disorders later in life. So, what foods should you choose? Here are my top 12 picks for healthy eyes and eyesight:

Apricots: When it comes to eye health you’ll want to indulge in a handful of fresh or dried apricots. These mostly-overlooked nutritional powerhouses contain a wide variety of nutrients needed for healthy eyesight, including: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, rutin, and zeaxanthin—the latter of which has been found to prevent age-related macular degeneration.

Bilberries: A relative of blueberries, bilberries grow in parts of the Rocky Mountains as well as some parts of Europe and Asia. Bilberries contain potent anthocyanins that, not only give them their deep bluish-black color, but also protect the eyes from harmful free radicals. While fresh bilberries may be difficult to obtain, they are readily available in capsule or powder form. The powder can be added to juice, water, or in smoothies.

Blackberries: Nutrients like alpha-carotene and anthocyanins give blackberries their gorgeous color but also help to protect the eyes against harmful free radicals. The nutrient rutin improves eye health and helps strengthen blood vessels to the eyes.

Blueberries: Not just delicious, these nutritional superfoods are demonstrating their ability to protect the eyes against free radical damage. In research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the compounds that give them their delightful color, anthocyanins, are showing their ability to help protect against age-related macular degeneration.

Broccoli: Now there’s more reason than ever to eat your broccoli, thanks to their rich source of eye-protecting nutrients that include: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, rutin, and zeaxanthin.

Carrots: No discussion on foods for eye health would be complete without mentioning carrots. Thanks to being a rich source in nutrients like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, carrots should be a regular part of your diet. Other orange-colored foods like mangoes, peaches, pumpkins, squash and sweet potatoes are also rich in these nutrients.

Chia and Flax Seeds: Rich in Omega 3s and vitamin E, these nutrients help to reduce inflammation and free radicals which are precursors to eye conditions.

Eyebright: Perhaps the most overlooked herb, eyebright is so impressive that it warrants serious consideration. I use it for every eye-related concern and am always impressed with the results. Whether you have itchy, red eyes from allergies, or eye pain from optical nerve damage, or something in between like glaucoma or macular degeneration, consider eyebright. It is conveniently available in capsule, dried herb, or tea bag form. I usually find that 2 capsules 3 times daily works well for most eye issues. Alternatively, drink the herbal tea 3 times daily. If you use the raw herb, use about 1 teaspoon per cup of boiled water and let steep for at least 10 minutes, strain, and drink 3 times daily.

Grapefruit: One of the few foods high in a little-known nutrient known as naringin that helps with a wide variety of eye disorders, grapefruit is an excellent addition to your diet. Grapefruit also contains the nutrient rutin, although you will need to eat some of the white pith surrounding the fruit (not the skin) to get more rutin in your diet. High in vitamin C, grapefruit also helps to protect your eyes from damaging free radicals.

Green Tea: Research in the medical journal Current Eye Research found that one of green tea’s medicinal compounds known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has a profound eye-protecting ability. It even helped prevent cataract formation.

Leafy Greens: When it comes to eye health few foods can compare to leafy greens like collards, kale, and spinach. That’s because they contain a wide variety of eye-protecting and eye-healing nutrients, some of which include: alpha-carotene, alpha lipoic acid, beta-carotene, lutein, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Nuts: High in vitamin E and a source of the eye-healing nutrient rutin, nuts like raw, unsalted Brazil nuts, cashews, and walnuts can be an excellent addition to your diet. Vitamin E helps to protect the eyes against harmful free radicals.

DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a celebrity nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life60 Seconds to SlimThe Probiotic Promiseand Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman's World, First for Women, Reader's Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, ThriveGlobal, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at CulturedCook.com and DrMichelleCook.com.

 

 

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