We’ve been told since we were children that eating carrots will improve eyesight and help us see in the dark. The truth is, it’s a myth. Sure, carrots contain vitamin A, which, in small amounts, is necessary for the eyes to function, but a normal diet contains all the vitamin A anyone needs. In fact, too much may even be damaging to your health.
What we do need for eye health are fats, particularly fatty acids, which contain nutrients critical for the normal production and functioning of cells, muscles, nerves, and organs.
Some fatty acids are produced naturally by our bodies, but others can only be obtained through diet. One such essential fatty acid (EFA) is omega-3, which has been found to be connected to optimal eye health.
Essential fatty acids have been found to be critical for proper visual development in infants. Deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids in adults (particularly omega-3) can lead to impaired vision.
In 2007, a large multi-site study found that people who eat at least two servings of fish weekly are less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible vision loss among people over 65 in the United States.
Deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids in adults can lead to impaired vision.
So where can we get omega-3 fatty acids from? The best sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids are cold-water fish, which are high in both EPA and DHA polyunsaturated fats. Examples of cold-water fish include salmon, mackerel, herring, sardine, and tuna. Nutritionists recommend a minimum of two servings of any of these fish weekly.
Children are notoriously fussy when it comes to food, so there are other sources for non-fish eaters. Natural sources include flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, and dark green leafy vegetables. Omega-3 is also available in the form of fish oil supplements.