Summer Recipes for Healthy Eyes

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 24-Jun-2013

chickenmangosmAn 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 conditions like 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 Elizabeth Somer.

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.

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