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Protect your vision by eating leafy greens

Published 3:10pm Saturday, July 7, 2012

Think carrots are the best food for your eyes?  Think again. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are some of the best foods to eat for vision health.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are essential nutrients that help maintain the health of your eyes. Your body doesn’t make these nutrients, so it’s important that you replenish them daily through the food you eat. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are the best of sources of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Benefits of eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin include:

•Work like internal sunglasses absorbing damaging light we are exposed to every day, both sunlight and indoor light.

•Act as powerful antioxidants, helping to protect and maintain healthy vision and improve visual performance.

•Reduce the time your eyes need to recover from glaring light, like headlights while driving at night.

Clinical research shows that you need 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin every day to protect your eyes.  To find out if you’re getting enough of these essential nutrients daily to protect your eyes and improve quality of vision, you can have your macular pigment optical density (MPOD) tested.* Checking your MPOD is a simple, non-invasive test available from many eye doctors. Nearly half of Americans have a low MPOD score.

Getting the recommended amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin from foods is preferred, but  can be difficult. The average American diet only provides about 2 mg of these nutrients daily, far below intakes clinically shown to have a positive effect on visual function.

Supplementing your diet with an eye vitamin that contains lutein, zeaxanthin and omega 3 fats is an easy way to bridge the gap of several essential nutrients. Look for FloraGLO Lutein on the label, the No. 1 doctor-recommended lutein brand.

Source: Adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

 

Baby spinach salad with Raspberry vinaigrette

Serves 4

Active time: 15 minutes           Total time: 15 minutes

Enjoy this delicious, refreshing spinach salad, loaded with sight-saving nutrients.

All you need:

Vinaigrette or Raspberry Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup Hy-Vee canola oil

1/4 cup Grand Selections red wine vinegar or raspberry vinegar

3 tablespoons Hy-Vee orange juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Salad:

6 cups prewashed baby spinach

1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 ripe, but firm, nectarine, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 tablespoons Vinaigrette or Raspberry Vinaigrette

All you do:

1. To prepare vinaigrette: Add oil, vinegar, orange juice, salt and pepper to a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake well to combine.

2. To prepare salad: Combine spinach, bell pepper and nectarine in a large bowl; toss with 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. *Cover and refrigerate the leftover dressing for up to 1 week.

 Nutrition facts per serving:

72 calories, 5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 74mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g protein. Daily values: 98% vitamin A, 65% vitamin C.

 


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