July 2013 — If you’re over age 50, it’s likely your diet doesn’t contain all the nutrients necessary for optimum eye health. That’s the finding of a recent review of nutritional studies performed by researchers at Tufts University and Lesley University.
The pigment in red bell peppers is the source of most of the zeaxanthin used in nutritional supplements.
The review highlighted data from the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which indicates that most Americans fall below the optimal intake of the following nutrients that research shows can help protect eye health as people age: vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
The researchers concluded that to limit vision loss within the aging U.S. population, it’s important to increase awareness among Americans, especially those aged 45 to 65, about the importance of nutrients and foods that could help prevent age-related eye disease.
These foods were identified as good sources of nutrients important for eye health:
Vitamin C: citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes and broccoli
Vitamin E: vegetable oils, wheat germ, nuts and legumes
Lutein and zeaxanthin: kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, corn, colored bell peppers
Beta-carotene: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato and spinach
Zinc: oysters, beef and other meats, nuts
Omega-3 fatty acids: salmon and other cold-water fish