4 Colorful Foods to Protect Vision

By now, you have heard a lot of helpful tips for protecting your eyesight, prompted by May’s Healthy Vision Month theme. Now, get out your coloring book, because it is time to have some fun! You can protect your peepers from sun damage with antioxidants found in dark leafy greens, egg yolks, yellow peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and carrots—notice the color pattern? Current research shows that consuming yellow, orange, and green vegetables can help prevent age-related macular generation, a leading cause of blindness. Try these 4 foods to color your eyesight healthy!

1. Carrots: Can’t Get Better than Beta-Carotene!

Carrots are famous for their ability to brighten eyesight. The characteristic orange coloring of carrots comes from its high content of beta-carotene, which is metabolized into Vitamin A, the substance in carrots that helps improve vision, especially night vision. Keep in mind that less than 5% of the beta-carotene in raw carrots is released during digestion; you can improve the release to almost half by pulping, cooking, and adding cooking oil. Find out more about beta-carotene in The Natural Health Dictionary.

2. Sweet Potatoes: Orange Antioxidants

Ever wonder why sweet potatoes—or all orange foods, for that matter—are the color they are? It is the carotenoid compounds found in orange fruits and veggies that are responsible for their sunset pigments. Thanks to these carotenoid antioxidants, we can brush free radicals away, improving eyesight and bolstering the immune system. So, go ahead, enjoy some baked sweet potatoes or creamy, roasted butternut squash!

3. Spotlight on Spinach: The Lutein Connection

To nourish your eyes, follow Popeye’s lead! Spinach—and many other green foods—are full of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that protect your retina from the macular degeneration that comes with age. Lutein has also been found to help reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. The darker the color, the better the lutein content. Don’t forget: fat increases lutein absorption, so remember to drizzle a little olive oil on your spinach and other greens after you sauté them. Other lutein and zeaxanthin vegetables include kale, turnip greens, collards, mustard greens, squash, green peas, and broccoli.

Try this Vision Tea! Boil 4 ounces of fresh spinach in 4 cups of water. Drink this spinach tea daily to give vital nourishment to your eyes.

4. Algae: Get All the Green Benefits

There’s other greens in the sea! Algae-related super foods like spirulina, chlorella, and blue-green algae possess nutrients that are beneficial for the eyes. Like most green-hued  plants, these algaes contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll resembles the structure of the iron-containing hemoglobin in the human body and increases blood cell production, improves oxygenation, detoxification, and circulation, all of which keeps you in overall good health and also helps protect your vision. You don’t need to go scuba diving to find these aquatic delights, because they are available in supplement form, often as a powder, which you can add to water, juice, or green tea. Children shouldn’t take more than one gram, while pregnant and nursing women should speak to their physician before taking any supplement. As a supplement, chlorophyll can be found online and in health food stores. Learn more about about chlorophyll in the Natural Health Dictionary. 

Bonus Tip: For a delicious dose of antioxidants, try Liquid Whole Food Vitamins, a blend of organic veggie, fruit, vitamin, amino acid, antioxidant and minerals.

Green Recipe: Eye-Bright Juice

An age-old Chinese folk remedy for clearing the vision is a blended juice made from celery, peppermint, and Chinese parsley (also known as cilantro). Research has caught up with this wisdom, and we now know that luteolin, an antioxidant bioflavonoid found in these three ingredients, has been found to provide the best protection of cell DNA from radiation. Some evidence shows that luteolin helps protect the eye from UV radiation damage, as well as from glycation, a process in which sticky sugar molecules bind up protein, potentially damaging the retina. It's easy to make: just blend together celery, peppermint, and Chinese parsley with a little water in a blender or juicer. Drink this fresh juice daily to see well into the future! Discover all the benefits of luteolin in the Natural Health Dictionary!

I hope these foods keep your vision clear for years to come! Many of the terms in this article come from The Natural Health Dictionary, a comprehensive guide that answers all your questions about natural remedies, healing herbs, longevity foods, vitamins, and supplements. Also, you can find more ways to live a long and healthy life in Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, which is now available on Kindle.

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May you live long, live strong, and live happy all year long!

—Dr. Mao

This blog is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

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