It’s easy to look past the importance of healthy eyes. When our eyesight works well, or is correctable with glasses or surgery, we can take for granted how delicate our eyes are. January is Glaucoma Awareness month and a good time to think about how nutrition plays a role in eye health as it does in all the systems of our body.
Again, we can beat the drum for dark leafy greens! Spinach, kale, broccoli, you name it, are all rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants critical to healthy eyes. It’s important to eat a dark green every day! While we have all heard eat carrots for healthy eyes, the dark greens are probably even more critical. Not to dismiss beta-carotein rich foods, as they are important as well. Outside of carrots, sweet potatoes and mangos are other tasty sources. Foods rich in Vitamin C are critical for eye health as well. Daily intake of citrus fruits, tomatoes, and bell peppers are great ways to get your Vitamin C.
Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and exercising daily are lifestyle and behavioral factors that promote eye health. Research has also shown that excess caffeine may increase eye pressure, so keeping caffeine intake at a moderate level, a couple cups of coffee a day, is probably best in relation to glaucoma. Watching these behaviors, and increasing the veggies combine to help reduce risk of glaucoma and keep your peepers powerful.
Try this Simple Sautéed Spinach as the base for a meal or an easy side.
1 bag of prewashed spinach, or a bundle of fresh spinach, washed well, stems trimmed
1 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, or seasoning blend you enjoy
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large pan, add garlic and let cook until slightly browned. Add spinach and cook until just wilted, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with lemon juice and desired seasonings. Eat immediately as it cools down quickly!