Eye Candy for Your Eyes

For generations, our ancestors relied on traditional foods for their health and well-being. Eye health specifically is an important area of well-being. Our diet today often misses out on the essential vitamins and minerals that keep our eyes healthy.

Here are five traditional foods to boost your eye health:

  1. Sweet Potatoes: Did you think carrots would be #1 on the list? Well this might surprise you. Sweet potatoes actually contain twice the amount of vitamin A compared to carrots. This helps you see in low-light situations, like driving at night. It also prevents dry eyes.
  2. Kale and spinach: Leafy greens are a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrient antioxidants are found in large amounts in the back of your eyes. They help you see more clearly. They also help you see colors. And they prevent eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and cataracts.
  3. Salmon: Northwest tribes and Alaska Natives have been enjoying the benefits of this fresh fish for generations. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids can prevent dry eyes and reduce the risk of blindness in elders. Other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are plant oils, coldwater fish (mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines) and nuts and seeds (flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts).
  4. Citrus fruits: Oranges, tangerines, lemons. They all contain high levels of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a critical antioxidant found in the front part of your eyes. It helps prevent eye diseases that come from getting older.
  5. Beans and legumes: Many eye problems result from something called oxidated stress. Oxidated stress is an imbalance between antioxidants and cell-damaging atoms. Beans and legumes contain vitamin E, which helps correct that imbalance. Other foods rich in vitamin E are almonds, avocados, and sunflower seeds.

As Native Americans, we have a wealth of traditional foods to support our eye health. Incorporate into your diet foods like sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, salmon, citrus fruits, beans, and legumes. Let’s protect our eyes and maintain healthy vision for years to come.