The saying that “mom knows best” really does apply when you’re told to eat your carrots for better eyesight but, in addition to vitamin A (or rather provitamin A like the carotenoid beta-carotene), there are various nutrients which are beneficial for healthy eyes.
These nutrients include the ACE vitamins, namely vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, minerals like zinc and then also lutein which acts as an antioxidant and helps to reduce cell damage.
A safe rule of thumb to make sure you are getting these nutrients from your food is to eat plenty fruit and vegetables that are bright in colour, especially those that are green, red or yellow. Try to include some of the foods listed below in your meals whenever you get the chance:
- Brussel sprouts, kale, spinach, cabbage, dark green lettuce
- Oily fish like tuna or mackerel
- Citrus fruits, pawpaw, kiwis, dried apricots
- Red, green and yellow bell peppers, butternut, pumpkin, carrots and beans
- Red meat and poultry
Try your hand at tuna salad wraps: chop, very finely, some cucumber, kale and red pepper and mix together in a bowl. Using a bread knife, slice some cabbage very thinly and then mix in with the rest of the ingredients. Then add some tuna and a little balsamic vinegar and mix well. Place a wrap on your plate, scoop a bit of the salad mix onto the wrap, fold closed and enjoy!
Make a tasty morning smoothie: Blend together banana, milk (or a non-dairy alternative like almond milk) and some baby spinach. Pour into a glass and top with finely sliced kiwi, almond slivers and chia seeds.
Treat yourself to easy honey mustard grilled chicken: Grill sliced chicken breasts in the oven until cooked through. While grilling, prepare the sauce in a small pan on the stove over medium heat by mixing honey, wholegrain mustard and a little olive oil together (choose a honey mustard ratio to your liking). Add a little water if you want a sauce that is a bit runnier. Remove the chicken from the oven, place on a platter and pour the sauce over it. Top with chopped, unsalted nuts (like macadamias or cashews) and very finely chopped dried apricots (or if you’re not a fan of apricots, use red and yellow peppers instead).
If you feel that you are not able to get a varied intake of fresh produce, speak to your healthcare provider about a multi-vitamin, multi-mineral supplement.
Vitamins in everyday life (Vitamin Information Centre, South Africa)