Eat Your Way To Healthy Eyes This Spring
Everybody has heard the adage ‘eating carrots will make you see in the dark’. Many believe it is an old wives’ tale that your nan tells you in order to make you eat your vegetables but carrots are genuinely good for your eyes. Whilst they might not give you the supernatural night vision you dreamed of as a kid, they are stuffed full of beta-carotene (the thing that gives them their orange colour). Beta-carotene is known to slow age-related degeneration and reduce the risks of cataracts. So nan was right – eat your carrots or your eyes may well pay the price.
Carrots aren’t the only sumptuous, sight-saving delights out there though. Here are six firm favourites that are good for eye-health and are in season this spring.
1.) Leafy veg such as rocket or watercress is the perfect accompaniment to any spring meal. With high levels of vitamin C, these leaves will help to maintain tissue strength and healthy cells. Pair with an oily fish such as salmon or lean meat like chicken for a delicious, healthy meal.
2.) Speaking of oily fish, wild salmon and sardines are just coming into season and are stuffed to the brim with those famous omega-3 fats. Omega-3 helps to protect the tiny blood vessels inside the eye and will keep you seeing your tasty fish for years to come! For best results, steam your fish and serve with fresh salad or vegetables.
3. Although broccoli is coming to the end of its peak season, it is still available and can protect the eyes with its high levels of vitamin C. Steam it until tender and it can accompany almost any meal.
4. Kiwi fruit is also packed full of that magic vitamin C and vitamin E – just what you want for eye-health maintenance. It also contains the carotenoid lutein (pronounces ‘loo-teen’) which will again help protect against that pesky age-related degeneration. It is delicious and easy as a mid-day snack. Just chop the top off and eat the flesh with a spoon!
5. Although eggs don’t seem to have a ‘season’, chickens tend to lay more during the spring because the days start getting lighter and longer but it’s still not too hot. Eggs are stuffed full of lutein and another carotenoid zeaxanthin (pronounced ‘zee-a-zan-thin’). These carotenoids are primarily found in the retina and lens of the eye, thus offering all-round protection and reducing the risk of cloudy cataracts. Eggs are extremely versatile too – although fried may not be a healthy option, you can poach, bake, boil or scramble them. Just make sure you eat the yolk, because that’s where all the goodness is!
6. By far the best spring food for eye-health is spinach. Spinach has no less than four of these fabulous vitamins and minerals that protect your vision: beta-carotene, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin. All these together can help to create a protective lens, shield against light, slow degeneration and protect against age-related illnesses. And it’s tasty too! Lay a bed of wilted spinach beneath your sardines or you could even make a refreshing spinach and lettuce soup – just what you want as the days get warmer!