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Family Matters Newsletter – February 2020   arrow

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A Feast for Your Eyes!

By: Megan Cooney, (Graduate Student)

child

Good nutrition and good health tend to go hand in hand. But did you know that a healthy diet can also protect your eyes? It’s true: what we eat can affect how we see!

The Eyes Have It

Why is caring for our eye health so important? As we get older, the risk for certain eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts increases. Many surveys have shown that sight is the most important of the five senses to maintain. Clearly, vision loss is a major concern.

Eating For Eye Health

Studies have shown that eating foods that are rich in certain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can slow down or even help prevent most eye diseases.

Wondering how to get more eye-friendly nutrients in your family’s diet? Keep your eyes peeled for these foods:

cabbage and peppers

  • Lutein & zeaxanthin: Kale, spinach, ro-maine lettuce, collard greens, broccoli, eggs
  • Beta-carotene: Carrots, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, cantaloupe
  • Vitamin C: Oranges, grapefruit, strawber-ries, Brussel sprouts, green bell peppers
  • Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, wheat germ, almonds, hazelnuts, vegetable oils
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, tuna, sar-dines, herring, mackerel, fortified dairy
  • Zinc: Oysters, red meat, eggs, turkey, wheat germ, black-eyed peas, mixed nuts

Challenge yourself to add more of these foods to your diet this year to help keep you seeing with ‘2020’ vision well into the future!

Let’s Talk

Prevention is key when it comes to eye health, and a lifetime of good sight starts early. Building healthy eating habits in childhood that include eye-friendly foods is a perfect place to start. Here are some ideas to encourage your kids to try something new.

Come up with a list of eye-healthy foods that you would like to add to your family’s meals and ask your child to pick one or two to try. Find a recipe that includes those foods, and then involve your child in helping you to prepare the ingredients. Younger kids can help scrub produce, mix together ingredients, and pour liquids while older kids can help with measuring or even cutting different foods up. The more ‘hands-on’ time that kids get with new foods, the more likely they are to eat them!

Recipes for Health

Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa

(If salmon is too expensive, serve the mango salsa with scrambled eggs, green salad and whole grain toast instead. The salsa can also be made with cantaloupe in place of the mango for a more seasonal and local option in summer months.)

salmon

Ingredients:
Salmon

  • 4 wild Alaskan salmon fillets (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

salsa

Mango Salsa

  • 1 cup mango (or cantaloupe), cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 green onion or ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven broiler to 400 degrees F. Line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place fish fillets on the cooking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle each fillet with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Cook in oven for 5-10 minutes, until each fillet is brown on top and cooked throughout.
  4. While the salmon is cooking, mix together the mango, red bell pepper, green onion and cilantro in a medium bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Whisk together the olive oil, lime zest, and lime juice in a small bowl.
  6. Pour dressing over salsa and mix to combine.
  7. When the salmon is done, spoon ¼ of the salsa over each prepared salmon fillet. Serve with brown rice and a green salad for an extra boost of eye-healthy nutrients!

Recipe adapted from AllAboutVision.com.