1. Dark green, leafy vegetables
To prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration—a condition which causes progressive damage to the retina, resulting in a gradual loss of vision—dark green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, collard greens and dark green lettuce (think Romaine), should definitely be on the menu. That’s because they contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two important nutrients that have antioxidant functions in the body and help to prevent cell damage. “We have lutein and zeaxanthin as pigments in the back part of the eye,” says Dr. Guillermo Rocha, an ophthalmologist and Medical Director of GRMC Vision Centre in Brandon, Manitoba. “Keeping that part well nourished helps maintain normal physiology at the back of the eye.” Rocha explains that lutein acts like sunglasses, helping to protect the retina from damage.