Protect Your EyesAs health care costs rise, it’s more important than ever to focus on preventative care to minimize the risk of developing certain (costly) diseases or ailments. Annual examinations keep you aware of your current health status and can help you catch potential problems. Exams also give you an opportunity to ask your doctor any questions you might have. Outside of the doctor’s office, simple things like eating well and staying active can lead to big-time health benefits in the future.

These preventative measures also apply to your eyes, and there are a number of vitamin-packed foods that help protect vision. According to our Eye Health Guide, foods containing vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and lutein help people maintain good eyesight and aid in the prevention of macular degeneration and cataracts. These vitamins can lead to excellent skin, and even act as an immune system booster. Vitamin A also helps keep eyes and retinas moist to prevent discomfort and the onset of many eyesight problems.

The simplest and safest way to get your daily dose of eye-protecting vitamins is to consume foods that contain them. Here are vitamin-rich foods that will work to protect your eye health:

  1. Spinach: Leafy greens are rich in lutein, a carotenoid that protects cells from damage.
  2. Citrus fruits: These fruits are high in vitamin A and C to help prevent nerve damage.
  3. Walnuts: Walnuts and pistachios are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which will help combat inflammation.
  4. Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, mulberries, cherries, and grapes lower inflammation and blood pressure — a risk factor for macular degeneration.
  5. Broccoli: Broccoli and other vegetables like Brussels sprouts and cabbage help decrease inflammation in the eye.
  6. Green tea: Green tea, black tea, and oolong tea work to prevent cataracts.
  7. Apricots: Apricots are rich in vitamin A — which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing cataracts by as much as 40%.
  8. Avocados: Avocados are one of the most vitamin-packed fruits we eat, containing beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
  9. Milk: Low-fat and nonfat dairy that’s been fortified with vitamin A is an easy way to work the vitamin into your meal planning.
  10. Salmon: Salmon and other cold-water fish contain omega-3 fatty acids and help prevent plaque — which causes macular degeneration.

Give your eyes a treat with one of these super smoothies.

The Stay Young Smoothie

  • ½-cup frozen blueberries
  • ½-cup frozen strawberries
  • ½-cup chilled unsweetened green tea
  • ¾-cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed

Combine all ingredients in an electric blender and blend on a medium speed until smooth. If needed, add natural sweetener to taste. Makes one 14-oz smoothie.

Green Machine Smoothie

  • 6 romaine leaves, chopped
  • 4 kale leaves, chopped
  • ½-cup fresh parsley sprigs
  • ½-cup chopped pineapple
  • ½-cup chopped mango
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Combine ingredients and 1 ½ cups of water in a blender and blend until smooth. Makes two 12-oz smoothies.