You have probably heard many times that certain foods are good for different parts of your body. “Eat whole grains, they’re good for your heart,” or “Drink milk, it makes your bones strong.” What about your eyes? Are there foods you can eat to help your vision and eye health? Someone in your lives has probably told you that carrots help our eyes. Are those folks right?
As it turns out, they are! Carrots contain a large amount of beta carotene, which can help lower a person’s risk of getting cataracts or experiencing macular degeneration. Macular degeneration results in the loss of vision due to damage to a person’s retina, so it’s important that those retinas stay healthy.
Chop or shred carrots and add them to soups or salads, or just eat them plain. These crunchy snacks full of the great antioxidant beta carotene taste great with Ranch dressing, or dipped into pretty much anything that you like. You can buy bagged baby carrots ready to snack on, or save money and buy a larger bunch that you peel at home. (If you plan to shred them, larger carrots will be easier to use than baby carrots.)
The following six foods can also contribute to better eye health.
1. Ostrich-Tempted to bury your head in the sand and ignore this one? Think again! Ostrich is overflowing with zinc, which supports eye health by helping enzymes necessary for good eyesight to function properly. Zinc is naturally found in the retinas of healthy eyes, but in people with macular degeneration, zinc amounts can be sparse. Consuming foods with zinc and help keep those levels high and possibly protect against the onset of macular degeneration.
2. Oranges and other citrus foods-These juicy treats contain several nutrients that can contribute to eye health, including vitamin C, beta carotene (just like those carrots), and lutein. Lutein has antioxidant properties, and vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Slice up those oranges or grapefruit for breakfast or a snack, or get out the juicer and squeeze out a fresh cup of health!
3. Sweet potatoes-Once again, it’s that beta carotene! A trend seems to exist here – foods that are orange in color contain lots of this anti-oxidant. Use sweet potatoes to make fries, mashed potatoes, casserole, or an easy baked side for dinner.
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4. Spinach (or eggs!)-Popeye must have had great eyesight! Like several foods mentioned above, spinach contains beta carotene, but the benefits don’t stop there. Spinach also possesses contains vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin act as sunscreen for the eyes and protect our retinas, lowering the risk of macular degeneration. Toss spinach in a salad and it’s delicious. Kale and collards also contribute to eye health, as they also contain lutein and vitamin C. And if you’re not into the leafy greens, eggs contain the combination of lutein and zeaxanthin as well, protecting those retinas.
5. Salmon-Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to eye health, and salmon is high in these polyunsaturated fats. Omega-3s help protect very small blood vessels that are found in our eyes. Salmon also contains zinc, just like those ostriches.
6. Turkey-Your eyes can catch more than sleep after that Thanksgiving dinner! Like salmon and ostrich, turkey contains zinc. Additionally, the niacin found in turkey can help prevent cataracts.
When choosing food to help your eyes, look for those that contain zinc, beta carotene, vitamins C and E, lutein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Bon appétit!
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Bread and Salt
Image by mystuart (on and off) The practice of giving bread and salt as house warming gifts is a tradition in many countries, including Russia, Germany, and Romania. Bread is given with hopes that the family will never know hunger. Salt expresses the wish that their lives may have spice. (From an internet information source.) I suggest that the meaning of salt is more basic and complex than just "spice in your life". Before refrigeration, salt was the principal means of PRESERVING vegetables--think sauerkraut (winter cabbage). So it was the other Staff of Life, along WITH bread, that ensured health and longevity. A whiter, quicker (dried yeast powder and the food processor) loaf made yesterday for guests who prefer a lighter loaf than what I usually bake. This loaf was demolished at breakfast!
Image by yummysmellsca The beginnings of a delicious, three-hour long simmer for my dad's West Indian inspired curry chicken. soybeans, carrots, two kinds of onions, bell pepper, celery, and a habanero pepper added the supporting roles, while coconut milk and chicken stock rounded out the body. Smelled heavenly! I finished the stew with a mixture of cubed sweet and red-skinned potatoes and a bit of rice to thicken things. Yum yum! yummysmells.blogspot.com/2010/06/slowly-stewing-lesson-in...
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