We all want to keep our vision as healthy as possible for as long as possible. That means maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise, not smoking, getting regular eye exams and eating a healthy diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and other essential fatty acids, or EFAs.
EFAs are important for the normal development and function of our cells, muscles, nerves, organs and eyesight. Since our bodies are unable to produce these EFAs, we have to obtain them through the food we eat.
One of the most important EFAs are the Omega-3 fatty acids. Types of omega-3 fatty acids include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicoapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). They’re important because studies have found that omega-3 EFAs are beneficial to our vision health.
These studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome; in addition, they are also thought to play an important role in draining intraocular fluid from the eye, which decreases the risk of high eye pressure and glaucoma.
Omega-3 fatty acids have many other health benefits as well, including fighting inflammation and heart disease, improving brain function and memory, regulating blood pressure, and controlling diabetes.
What’s on the Menu?
Looking to boost the amount of omega-3 in your diet? Not a problem, because there are so many delicious omega-3 rich foods on the menu. In fact, a lot of your favorite foods are probably on the list. As you’ll see, many of these foods have other nutritional benefits in addition to omega-3s.
There’s lots of seafood, especially cold water fish:
- Mackerel (also a good source of Vitamins B6 and B12)
- Herring (also contains Vitamins D and B12 and selenium)
- Salmon (also a good source of Vitamins B12 and D, selenium, protein and phosphorous)
- Sardines (also contains Vitamins B12 and D, and selenium)
- Anchovies (lots of niacin and selenium, and, when eaten with the bones, calcium)
- Oysters (in addition to Vitamin B12, a great source for zinc and copper)
And plenty of grains, nuts and vegetables as well:
- Avocados (a popular source of Vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, lutein, beta-carotene, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, magnesium, and potassium)
- Broccoli (also contains Vitamins C and K, folic acid, potassium and fiber)
- Spinach (also a good source of protein, fiber, Vitamins E, A, C and K, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, potassium and iron)
- Chia seeds (also full of manganese, selenium, magnesium and other nutrients; may also help to prevent certain types of cancer)
- Flax seeds (the richest whole-food source of the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); also loaded with fiber, calcium, protein and magnesium)
- Walnuts (they also contain high amounts of copper, manganese and Vitamin E)
- Edamame and Soybeans (in addition to being an important source of fiber, antioxidants and protein, soybeans also contain riboflavin, folic acid, Vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium)
- Canola Oil (an inexpensive source of omega-3 fatty acids)
- Seaweed and algae
- Hemp seeds
- Kidney beans
- There are a number of over the counter omega-3 fatty acid supplements available in grocery stores, pharmacies and from online retailers.
- There are also foods that have been fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, including certain brands of eggs, yogurt, juices, milk, soy beverages, and infant formulas.
- Maternal breast milk is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids for infants and is critical in the development of normal, healthy eye sight.
Eye Exams Are Important to Your Vision Health Too
In addition to exercise, not smoking and eating a healthy diet, regular eyes exams are important to maintaining healthy vision. Houstonians have been trusting the eye professionals at the Berkeley Eye Center for more than 50 years.
Our team of highly trained and experienced Houston eye doctors use the most advanced techniques and technology to provide the highest level of eye care to our patients. With locations all over Houston and surrounding communities, there’s probably a Berkeley Eye Center near you.