Planting the right vegetables in your garden will keep your eyes strong and help to prevent certain eye issues such as macular degeneration. Read below to learn which vegetables are the best for planting in your garden to improve your eyesight.
Kale belongs to the cabbage family and it grows large leaves as it matures. This vegetable gets its dark green color from certain carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients block damaging ultraviolet light from penetrating your eyes and they help to prevent age-related macular degeneration.
This condition occurs when part of the retina, called the macula, has damaged nerve cells. As the disease progresses, your eyes can't focus on small details because your vision is blurry. Age-related macular degeneration frequently strikes adults over the age of 55 and it's hereditary.
To keep this disease from attacking your vision, reap the benefits of kale for several months out of the year. Plant your first crop in early spring and your second one in the fall. Kale will thrive when grown in colder temperatures and it has a sweeter taste after a frost.
You can use kale in various types of recipes including in salads, soups and as a topping on your pizza. Make an eye-healthy snack by baking kale chips by using this recipe.
- Thoroughly wash and dry the kale, remove the stalks and cut the leaves into pieces.
- Place the kale leaves in a large bowl, add two tablespoons of olive oil and one teaspoon of salt.
- Mix the ingredients together and arrange them on a baking sheet.
- Place the kale chips in a 275-degree oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the kale chips over on the other side and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Add extra flavor to your kale chips with garlic powder, parmesan cheese or taco seasoning mix.
Some of the natural substances found in tomatoes are beneficial to eye health, while other nutrients of this food help with eye function.
- Vitamin C: helps to prevent cataracts from forming in your eyes.
- Vitamin A: aids the retina when transferring optical signals to your brain.
- Copper: assists with melanin production, which is responsible for the dark pigment in your eyes.
- Lycopene: protects the retina from sustaining damage from extreme light.
Tomatoes get their bright red color from lycopene, which is present in carotenoid pigments. The reddest tomato cultivars contain the most lycopene, so choose a bright red variety such as beefsteak, better boy or roma to plant in your garden.
Add a teaspoon of olive oil to your fresh tomatoes before eating them. The oil will help your body absorb the lycopene quicker.
If you have poor night vision due to cataracts or nearsightedness, plant sweet potatoes in your garden and you'll see better in the dark. This root vegetable contains beta-carotene and your body uses this antioxidant to make retinol, a form of vitamin A.
After your body changes the beta-carotene into vitamin A, this nutrient helps your eyes adjust when you're in low light or near darkness. When you eat foods that contain vitamin A, your body is more resistant to eye infections.
When your body doesn't get enough vitamin A, you're also at risk for xerophthalmia. This condition affects the health of your eyes and the symptoms include dry eyes, enlarged eyelids, the inability to produce tears and ulcers of the cornea.
Other beta-carotene rich vegetables to plant in your garden include carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash and cantaloupe.
Plant the vegetables listed above in your garden and eat at least one serving every day for optimal eye health. Click here to schedule an appoint with an optometrist for an eye exam to discover any eye conditions and to keep your vision strong.