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If you only think about eye health when heading to eyeglass stores to look for men’s eyeglasses or designer eyeglasses, then you might want to think again. In the last twenty years, medical science’s understanding of the role of nutrition in eye health has truly blossomed. In this article, we will look at how you can dramatically improve your overall eye health and do so by eating more green foods.

Certain green foods are loaded with key nutrients that are responsible for maintaining good eye health. Two ingredients in particular, lutein and zeaxanthin, are vital for eye health. [1]

Zeaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid, and it can be found in everything form spinach and broccoli to Swiss chard, collard greens and romaine lettuce. All of these leafy greens also have a myriad of additional health benefits and make for a smart addition to any diet.

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The second key eye health nutrient is lutein. Luckily, lutein can be found in many of the same green foods that contain zeaxanthin. In addition to spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, collard greens and romaine lettuce, it is possible to find lutein in kale. Kale is a particularly rich source of lutein. [2]

Studies have shown that consuming the green foods discussed in this list may have a substantial impact on reducing the risk of eye diseases and conditions such as macular degeneration as well as cataracts.

So does this mean that you should be eating more salads? In a word, yes. In one way or another, it is in your interest to consume the green foods we are discussing in this article. Keep in mind that there are more ways to consume these foods than strictly in salads. In fact, many of these foods are even available in powder form and thus can be consumed as part of green drinks or blended into smoothies, for example.

The bottom line is that foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin will do more than simply improve your eye health, as they will improve your overall health too. The reasons to eat leafy green foods continue to mount! Foods such as broccoli, spinach and kale are very rich in vitamins and minerals, but they offer even more as they are also rich in disease fighting compounds. Broccoli, for example, has compounds that have been shown to be very effective in fighting cancer in many different forms.

It is, of course, true that you can obtain lutein and zeaxanthin in a pill form; however, this should not be your first choice. Supplements containing lutein and zeaxanthin are fine to use as a backup when you are not able to consume enough leafy greens and other green foods.

The fact that leafy greens can improve your eye health is just another reason to adopt these foods into your diet. If you currently have a diet that is rich in processed foods and fast foods, considering swapping out more leafy greens even if it is only once or twice a week. Your body and your eyes will be very happy that you did!

Sources:
1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=126
2. http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2008/jul2008_Kale-Cancer-Protection-Healthy-Eye-Heart-Benefits_01.htm

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