The term ‘superfood’ is a simple term used for the types of food that contain high amounts of essential nutrients and have properties that benefit our health and well being. In this post we look at the Ultimate Superfoods List For Healthy Vision (and offer a sublime smoothie recipe).
Many people, when thinking about healthy foods, probably think of vegetables and fruits. And of course they would be correct. In fact, there are 10 food types that we consider to be the major Superfood Groups.
What Are The Superfood Groups?
We have included an infographic below which gives more information, but for convenience, the 10 Main Superfood Groups are:
- Leafy Greens;
- Olive Oil;
- Whole Grains;
- Cruciferous Vegetables;
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In addition to these more general category groupings of superfood, we can break these down further into sub-groups that benefit specific health issues, such as weight loss, strength, heart health, etc.
One of these subgroups is a set of superfood that have been shown to help with our vision.
The main properties of this superfood subset are those foods that have high levels of antioxidants, vitamin C, carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these are proven to be essential to maintain optimal eye health.
Ultimate Superfoods List For Healthy Vision.
- Chia Seeds;
- Dark Chocolate;
- Peppers / Capsicum;
1. Yes, It’s All True – Carrots.
This is probably one of the most commonly known foods that we associate with vision. Well guess what! All those times our Moms and Grannies told us to eat carrots to improve our eye sight. They were right!
The reason is that the humble carrot contains a very high volume of beta-carotene, which is an excellent source of vitamin A.
When we maintain a healthy dosage of vitamin A in our system, we not only gain vitality but we are also protecting the cells in our eyes. Vitamin A is known to be excellent for maintaining, and improving, the health of our corneas. Carrots also contain essential nutrients that complement health, such as potassium.
2. Not Just For Popeye! It’s Spinach.
We know that as part of sensible eating and to maintain optimal health we should always make a habit of adding a variety of green leafy vegetables to our diet.
For eye health we highly recommend Spinach> . This mighty leaf is another excellent source of vitamin A, and regular intake helps protect our eyes and may prevent vision from deteriorating later in life.
As well as Vitamin A Spinach contains lutein, a powerful carotenoid, which is an antioxidant that defends our body against unstable molecules called free radicals.
It is also a powerhouse of zeaxanthin, which is another carotenoid that neutralizes free radicals associated with oxidative stress and retinal damage.
Both lutein and zeaxanthin are thought to play a major part in preventing cataracts. This also goes for other greens, like kale and collard greens.
3. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are found as central ingredients on many superfoods lists. This is because they are full of important nutrients. Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which help to maintain a healthy ocular surface and prevent the condition of “dry eyes”.
Because Chia Seeds are high in antioxidants they help prevent cataracts, night vision problems, and have nutrients which help to lower the risk of macular degeneration.
This tiny seed will help strengthen cells in our eyes and protect the lens and retina.
4. Yes, A Sweet-ish Treat – Dark Chocolate.
Yes, the good news, you can help your eye health and still have a chocolate treat!
One nutritional element found within Dark Chocolate is Copper, which is known to support healthy nerve function. Ths in turn helps to prevent deterioration and damage to the optic nerve.
Another ingredient found in Dark Chocolate is Cocoa, a natural source of Vitamin A, which as discussed already, helps to prevent macular degeneration, the main cause of vision deterioration as we age.
Glaucoma is one of the most serious of all eye diseases. It causes gradual damage to the optic nerve and, if left untreated or undiagnosed, can eventually lead to total vision loss.
Dark Chocolate contains flavonoids and these help to lower oxidative stress. For those suffering with Glaucoma these antioxidant properties help protect our eyes from further damage.
As we are aware Omega-3 fatty acids are hugely important for our health and for us to maintain vision and eye health.
Salmon is one of the very best sources of these fatty acids and a tasty, and easy way to get these essential acids into our diet.
Eating Salmon also provides us with a good source of vitamin D, another important nutrient that helps protect against macular degeneration.
Now we get to a real powerhouse for eye health, the humble Blueberry!
Blueberries contain huge amounts of healthy and healing antioxidants. In particular they are loaded with carotenoids, namely lutein and zeaxanthin, and are also jam packed with eye-nourishing phytonutrients called anthocyanins.
As well as these antioxidants Blueberries contain Vitamin E. All 4 of these super nutrients have been proven to improve our night vision and maintain, even improve, optimal eye health.
If that wasn’t awesome enough, the lutein and zeaxanthin found in blueberries have also been shown to reduce inflammation of the eye, and inflammation caused by detrimental eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy.
As well as Vitamin E, Blueberries provide us with an excellent source of Vitamin C, with one cup of blueberries providing 14 milligrams.
Studies have shown that Vitamin C can reduce the intraocular pressure of the eye. This is excellent news for all of us, especially as we start to age. By reducing pressure of the eye we decrease the likelihood that we may develop Glaucoma, the second most common cause of blindness.
And the blueberry isn’t finished helping yet! This little berry provides us with an excellent supply of Zinc. Zinc is an important mineral for our health, especially as it has been proven to help protect our eyes against age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and night blindness.
Last but not least, Blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin A which is hugely beneficial for treating inflammation in the eye and essential for those suffering with, or attempting to find a solution to, the condition known as Dry Eye.
Check Out Our Healthy And Delicious Blueberry Pancake With Almond Milk Recipe
Avocados are not commonly associated with eye health superfoods, but we need to change that. It’s time to promote this delicious fruit!
Avocados help our eye health because they contain high levels of antioxidant lutein. One ounce of Avocado contains around 80 micrograms of lutein. This is impressive considering most lutein supplements only provide us with 10 mg!
As we know lutein is a naturally occurring antioxidant and well known for helping us maintain eye health as we age.
In fact Avocado may be more beneficial than we first thought. A University of Georgia study found that lutein, is a Carotenoid that filters harmful blue light and therefore helps keep the cells of our eyes healthy.
This becomes even more impressive when we consider that of the 600 different carotenoids that we know exist in nature, there are only 2 that can benefit the retina of your eye – lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein reduces the risk of, and may also prevent, Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
The only problem is, our body is unable to create or synthesis the Lutein we require to keep our eyes healthy and fight Macular Degeneration. So for this reason, and the fact that they also contain ample Vitamin C, E, and B6, it is a very good idea to build avocado into our diet!
Another fruit that most definitely deserves to be on our superfoods list are strawberries. These summertime sweet treats have masses of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that promotes better eye health by keeping the connective tissues and blood vessels around our eyes healthy.
Strawberries are an excellent source of folate (a B vitamin), fiber, and an assortment of phytochemicals known to keep us in optimal health.
Plus they are so easy to add to your daily diet! Throw some strawberries on your breakfast cereal, or make a fruit smoothie (You’ll see an awesome smoothie recipe at the end of the post), or just eat them as a mid morning, mid afternoon, or mid anytime, snack.
9. Peppers / Capsicum.
Bell peppers, or Capsicum as they are known in other parts of the world, are a great addition to your diet. Especially if you are concerned about your vision.
Peppers contain Vitamins A and C, and as we know both of these have antioxidant properties which are excellent for our eye health and improving our eyesight.
Peppers and Capsicum also contain vision improving nutrients, such as beta-carotene and vitamin B6. And as we know, vision related or not, Peppers and Capsicum, are delicious and exceptionally good for us!.
Who doesn’t love Walnuts? These delicious morsels are wonderful in salads, baking and bread. They are also considered a superfood, especially for vision, due to the significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid they contain. Alpha-linolenic acid is the the plant and nut version of Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish!.
Walnuts are rich in zinc and other minerals as well as containing several B-complex vitamins, antioxidants and vitamin E. All of which are known to improve our vision and keep our eyes in top condition.
A Sublime Smoothie Using Our Superfoods List.
I think smoothies are an awesome, easy and effective way to incorporate big doses of superfood into our diet. They are easy to make, nutritious and a perfect way to get food into the fussiest of family members. You’ll also boost their health and sight!
Improved Vision & Eye Health Smoothie
- 1/2 cup of strawberries
- 1 cup of spinach (washed)
- 1/2 cup of blueberries
- 1/4 cup grated carrot
- 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
- 30g grated dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup ice cubes
- Step 1 Add all ingredients to a blender and blend to achieve a smooth consistency
- Step 2 Add additional ice to achieve preferred temperature
- Step 3 Add additional honey, or 1/2 frozen banana if you prefer a sweeter smoothie.