May is Healthy Vision Month and I encourage you to eat right for your sight by adding more eye healthy foods to your plate (e.g., fatty fish, nuts and legumes, seeds, citrus fruits, dark leafy green vegetables, orange vegetables, eggs, tomatoes, olive oil and corn).

Enriching your daily diet with certain nutrients can help preserve your vision and protect your eyes against diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Top nutrients for healthy eyes include:

Lutein - an antioxidant that protects the macula and lens of the eye.  Sources include dark leafy green vegetables, Brussels sprouts, green beans, citrus fruits, orange vegetables.

Zeaxanthin - an antioxidant that protects the macula and lens of the eye.  Zeaxanthin also helps filter out damaging blue light emitted from digital devices.  Sources include red and orange fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin C - an antioxidant that helps reduce free radical damage.  Vitamin C improves mineral absorption in the lens and supports brain and immune system health.  Sources include citrus fruits, red and green peppers, kale, broccoli, strawberries.

Beta carotene - an antioxidant that is the precursor to Vitamin A.  Beta carotene improves macula and lens health and reduces free radical damage in the eye.  It also improves night vision and reduces inflammation.  Sources include carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cantaloupe and apricots.

Vitamin A - helps prevent dry eye, night blindness, macular degeneration and strengthens the cornea.  Sources include eggs, squash, apricots, spinach and kale.

Vitamin E - an antioxidant that protects the macula and reduces free radical damage.  Sources include sunflower seeds, almonds, red peppers, collard greens.

Zinc - protects the retina and lowers the risk of developing macular degeneration.  Sources include kidney beans, flax/pumpkin seeds and spinach.

Omega 3 fatty acids - help lubricate the cornea, reduce eye inflammation and protect the retina and optic nerve.  Sources include walnuts, egg yolk, wild-caught salmon and chia seeds.

Here are a few recipes that are bursting with vision-protecting vitamins and nutrients:

Tropical Smoothie

Sun-Dried Tomato Goat Cheese Frittata

Chicken Chopped Salad

Roasted Salmon and Melon Salsa

Tropical Smoothie

This smoothie is loaded with some of the top nutrients for healthy vision: lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin C (which are all antioxidants)! 

Total Time: 5 minutes
Yields 2 servings

¾ cup frozen mango
½ cup fresh (or frozen) pineapple
1 cup fresh spinach (or kale)
1 cup coconut water

Place all ingredients in a blender.  Blend and enjoy!

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 79, Protein 1 g, Sodium 23 mg, Cholesterol 0 mg, Total Carbohydrate 19 g (Dietary fiber 1.6 g, Sugars 16 g), Total fat 0.3 g (Saturated fat 0 g)

Sun-Dried Tomato Goat Cheese Frittata (Adapted from @acedarspoon)

This savory vegetarian (and colorful) breakfast/brunch is packed with healthy and eye-healthy foods such as whole eggs and egg whites, tomatoes, spinach and orange bell peppers!

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields 6 servings

4 whole eggs + 1 cup liquid egg whites
¼ cup 1% lactose-free milk
½ tsp salt
⅛ tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup onion, chopped
1 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
2 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 oz. crumbled goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400℉.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk, salt, and pepper.  Stir in the basil, parsley, crushed red pepper flakes, and oregano.

3. In a large cast iron skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and orange bell pepper and continue to sauté for 2 more minutes, or until bell pepper and onion are soft.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted.

4. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the cast iron skillet and gently move the eggs around in the skillet until the eggs cover the vegetables.  Sprinkle the goat cheese crumbles evenly around the frittata.  Cook for 2 more minutes until the eggs just begin to set at the edges.

5. Bake the frittata in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the eggs are set and they do not run when the frittata is cut open.

6. Garnish with additional chopped parsley and basil and let cool for 3-4 minutes.  Cut the frittata into slices and serve warm.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 171, Protein 11.2 g, Sodium 541 mg, Cholesterol 137 mg, Total Carbohydrate 8.4 g (Dietary fiber 2 g, Sugars 5 g), Total fat 11.2 g (Saturated fat 3.4 g)

Chicken Chopped Salad (From @allaboutvision)

This salad is full of eye-healthy nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C and E and zinc!

Total Time: 5-10 minutes
Yields 1 serving

1 cup Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup baby spinach
1 cooked 3oz chicken breast, sliced diagonally
½ cup frozen green peas
½ orange bell pepper, diced
¼ cup slivered almonds
½ orange, peeled and chopped

¼ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 garlic clove, minced
Remaining half of orange
Salt and pepper to taste

Arrange ingredients on a plate or in a bowl.  In a separate container, combine all dressing ingredients and stir until well-mixed.  Drizzle dressing over top and serve.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 664, Protein 45 g, Sodium  1340 mg, Cholesterol  55 mg, Total Carbohydrate  60 g (Dietary fiber  22 g, Sugars  29 g), Total fat  30 g (Saturated fat 3 g)

Roasted Salmon with Melon Salsa (From @allaboutvision)

This dish is loaded with the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).  These essential fatty acids support the retina and help decrease inflammation in the eye.

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields 4 servings

4 salmon fillets
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Melon Salsa
1 cup cantaloupe (cut into ¼-inch cubes)
½ red bell pepper (cut into ¼-inch cubes)
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 Tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven broiler (I used the highest setting).

2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.

3. Place fish fillets on the lined baking pan and brush with olive oil.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper on each fillet.

4. Place in oven for 5-10 minutes, or until brown on the top and cooked throughout.

While the salmon is cooking, prepare the salsa:

1. Mix together gently the cantaloupe, green onion, red pepper and cilantro.  Season with a little salt and pepper.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime zest and lime juice.

3. Pour dressing over salsa and mix to combine.

When salmon is ready, place one fillet on each plate and evenly spoon the salsa on top.  

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 205, Protein  22 g, Sodium  775 mg, Cholesterol 75 mg, Total Carbohydrate  6.6 g (Dietary fiber  1.3 g, Sugars  3.4 g), Total fat  11 g (Saturated fat  2 g)


Instagram: @ninathefooddoc


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