Good nutrition fuels your body, contributes to healthy eyes and can even influence how your mind functions.
In your teen years, a healthy diet is especially important for keeping you alert and strengthening your muscles and bones.
Lycopene also appears to lower the risk for a number of cancers, including lung cancer, prostate cancer in men and cervical cancer in women.
Currently, there is no RDA for lycopene, but to achieve the health benefits of this and other phytonutrients, the National Academy of Science and other health-related organizations recommend that you include plenty of carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
Other important nutrients for your eyes and vision are the yellow, orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables that are called carotenoids.
There are hundreds of carotenoids, but the most common ones found in North American diets are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene.
Prolonged exposure to UV and HEV rays may damage the retina and increase your risk of developing macular degeneration.
A diet rich in bioflavonoids appears to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, cataracts and macular degeneration.
Eggs are another good source of these important phytonutrients. But some researchers suggest you need at least six to ten milligrams (mg) of lutein daily for good eye health. Another important carotenoid for good vision, lycopene is the pigment that gives tomatoes their red color.
The redder the tomato, the more lycopene is present.
Until recently, the health benefits of bioflavonoids were considered to be due to their role as antioxidants.
But recent research suggests the primary benefit of bioflavonoids may be their ability to reduce inflammation, maintain healthy blood vessels and help your body get rid of potentially toxic and cancer-causing chemicals.