An estimated one in four American adults over 40 suffers from some level
of vision loss. While vision loss can be attributed to any number of
eye conditions, what you eat will indeed keep your eyes healthy and may even prevent
some eye conditions and vision loss. What you eat can help prevent eye
macular degeneration, dry eyes and eye infections. Eating the right foods can even help prevent
night vision problems.
Yes, your mom really was onto something when she told you to eat your carrots
because they are good for your eyes! Nutrients found in fresh produce
and even in some nuts can help keep your eyes healthy. It’s integral
to understand what nutrients are most important in protecting your eyes.
Vitamin A -- A lack of vitamin A can cause night vision problems, dry eyes and even
leads to some eye infections. Eating foods rich in vitamin A can lower
your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin A
is found in colorful fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids. It
is also found in beef, chicken liver, cod liver oil, milk and eggs. Do
not eat more than 2,800 micrograms of the vitamin a day, as too much vitamin
A can be harmful to your health.
Carotenoids -- The yellow, orange and red pigments found in many fruits and vegetables
are carotenoids, and for overall health, not just eye health, it is recommended
that you eat carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables every day. Lutein and
zeaxanthin are two types of carotenoids that are important to your eye
health as they help protect your retina from damage by the sun’s
rays. Look for red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables as well as
dark, leafy greens such as romaine, kale and spinach. Broccoli, squash
and bell peppers are also great sources of carotenoids. Researchers suggest
that adults should eat at least six to ten milligrams of lutein daily
for eye health.
Vitamin C -- Vitamin C is another antioxidant that is important for your overall health
as it protects the heart, can prevent some cancers and strengthens the
immune system, but it is also important for your eyes. Like vitamin A,
vitamin C may reduce your risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration.
Vitamin C is found in oranges, orange juice, red and green bell peppers,
grapefruit, strawberries, broccoli and kale. It is recommended that adults
get as much as 1,000mg of vitamin C daily.
Vitamin E -- Vitamin E is also thought to reduce risk of developing cataracts and macular
degeneration of the eye. It is also a powerful antioxidant that and is
found in almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter, spinach, avocados, olive oil
and whole grains.
Now that you know the nutrients that can keep your eyes healthy, it's
time to get cooking! For a delicious summer recipe that is healthy for
your eyes, try this recipe from the
American Optometric Association and registered dietitian
Grilled Chicken and Mangos on Baby Greens -- Especially rich in: vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin, folate, and zinc. Also rich in: plant-based omega-3s, fiber, B vitamins, iron, and potassium.
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 4 four-ounce skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" strips
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced lemon peel
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooking spray
- 8 cups baby lettuce
- 1 /2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 /2 cup julienned red bell pepper
- 1 large mango, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves, minced
Marinade: In a blender, whip soy sauce, oil, ginger, lemon juice, and red
pepper flakes. Place chicken in a shallow pan and pour marinade over top.
Turn to coat, cover, and refrigerate up to 1 hour.
Dressing: Blend ingredients (lemon juice and peel, oil, honey, and salt/pepper).
Set aside for flavors to blend.
Spray a large, non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high
heat. Add chicken strips and cook on each side for 2 minutes, or until
done. Remove from heat.
In a large salad bowl, toss lettuce, onions, and peppers. Add dressing
and toss thoroughly. Divide onto 4 salad plates, top with chicken strips
and mango. Sprinkle with mint leaves.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional Information (per serving): 291 Calories; 33 % fat (10.6 g total,
1.7 g saturated), 192 mg omega-3s, 28 % carbohydrate (20.4 g), 39 % protein
(28.4 g), 66 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 77 mg vitamin C, 2.3 mg vitamin
E, 1.3 mg zinc, 598 mg sodium.