6 Fabulous Food Combos for Healthy Eyes

Do you forget your eyes when you think about nutrition? If so, you may be missing out on important nutrients that can protect your eye health.

According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF), macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss. It affects more than 10 million Americans — that’s more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.

Macular degeneration can cause blurred or wavy vision. In time, it can lead to the loss of central vision. The exact cause of macular degeneration isn’t known, but it may involve heredity and environment. The biggest risk factor is age. You’re more likely to develop macular degeneration after age 55.

There is no cure, but the AMDF offers lifestyle tips that may lower your risk or slow progression of macular degeneration. These include not smoking, regular exercise and protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light.

Diet is important, too. An eye-healthy diet is low in fat and includes plenty of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and collard greens.

The AMDF collaborated with cookbook author Jennifer Trainer Thompson and macular degeneration expert Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM, on Eat Right for Your Sight. The cookbook links years of research on nutrition and macular regeneration. It includes a scrumptious variety of eye-healthy dishes, including some dessert ideas.

Thompson graciously shared some eye-healthy food combinations Care2, along with an explanation of why they’re good for you.

These combos are simple to prepare, beautiful to look at, and delicious. And they’re packed with super healthy nutrients for your eyes and for your overall health.

Bon appétit!

1. Avocado and Grapefruit

Vitamins are fat soluble and we absorb them better when we combine them with a bit of fat. A good example of that is grapefruit with avocados, which can be a side dish on its own or delicious atop Bibb lettuce. Grapefruit is great for eye health because it contains vitamin C and carotenoids, both key nutrients for eye growth and development.

2. Broccoli Rabe and Pine Nuts

Similar to the avocado-grapefruit combination, the fat in pine nuts helps the body absorb key nutrients found in broccoli rabe. Deep green broccoli rabe is a great source of eye-healthy nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. The general rule of thumb is the deeper and darker a vegetable or fruit’s color, the stronger its nutrient value.

3. Lentils and Red Pepper

Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron found in plant foods (such as lentils), which can be particularly beneficial for vegetarians and people eating smaller quantities of animal protein. Want to increase the iron absorption from your lentils? Combine them with red pepper, a great source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help protect against damage due to age-related macular degeneration.

4. Spinach and Lemon, Orange, Tomatoes, or Strawberries

Spinach is another iron-rich, plant-based food. Spinach also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two key nutrients for eye health. When paired with vitamin-rich fruits like lemons, oranges, tomatoes, or strawberries, the body absorbs the iron from spinach better and gets additional key eye-healthy nutrients.

5. Salmon and Spinach

A combination of omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin may help boost the pigment in the retina and help people with age-related macular degeneration. Salmon is a potent source of omega 3-fatty acids, and spinach has high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. They make a powerful eye-healthy food combination.

6. Sardines and Kale

A rich-source of omega-3 fatty acids, sardines are inexpensive and delicious. Pair them with kale, a nutritional powerhouse that contains the highest amount of lutein of any vegetable, as well as high amounts of zeaxanthin. Pair grilled sardines with a fresh kale salad for a potent food combo.

For more information about macular degeneration, visit the American Macular Degeneration Foundation.

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Photo: shvili/iStock/Thinkstock


Cindy S
Cindy Smith10 months ago


Rebekka Hass
Rebekka Hass10 months ago

Thank you

Lesa D
Past Member 10 months ago

LOOKS good!!!

thank you Ann...

Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ

Thanks for sharing

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you

Toni W.
Toni W2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Toni W.
Toni W2 years ago


Debbi -.
Debbi -2 years ago

Glad we're eating many of the right foods.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago