Open Your Eyes To Healthy Eating Habits
Open Your Eyes To Healthy Eating Habits
In honor of March s Save Your Vision Month
the American Optometric Association (AOA) reminds Americans that caring for eyes includes paying attention to nutrition.
Approximately 43 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts
the two leading causes of vision loss and blindness. Based on research from multiple studies
there is a strong correlation between good nutrition and the prevention of these age-related eye diseases. By eating foods rich in six nutrients – antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin
essential fatty acids
vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc – you can help protect your eye sight and vision.
Research shows that 30 million (or one out of four) Americans age 40 and older suffer from some level of vision loss. According to the AOA s 2008 American Eye-Q® survey
which assesses public knowledge and understanding of a wide range of issues related to eye and visual health
only 29 percent of Americans are coping with vision loss or other eye problems by increasing nutrients for healthy eyes.
“Basic and clinical research has shown that nutrients in eye-healthy foods can slow vision loss
” said Dr. Stuart Richer
optometrist and AOA s Vision and Nutrition Expert. “Indeed
in some cases
these foods can even improve vision
while providing additional health benefits to the patient.”
Healthy Fruits and Vegetables
the AOA and registered dietician Elizabeth Somer recommend eating a diet with a variety of foods loaded with key nutrients for maintaining and improving eye health
such as lutein (LOO-teen) and zeaxanthin.
The American Eye-Q® survey showed that nearly half of all Americans (48 percent) still believe carrots are the best food for eye health. While carrots do contain nutritional value by supplying the provitamin A beta-carotene which is essential for night vision
spinach and other dark
leafy greens prove to be the healthiest foods for eyes because they naturally contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin.
along with nutritional ingredient manufacturers Kemin and DSM
recommend the following foods which contain the key nutrients for eye health:
Lutein and zeaxanthin: Colorful fruits and vegetables such as broccoli
oranges and tangerines
Essential fatty acids: Fatty fish like tuna
whole grain foods
chicken and eggs
Vitamin C: Fruits and vegetables
green peppers and tomatoes
Vitamin E: Vegetable oils
such as safflower or corn oil
and sunflower seeds
Zinc: Extra-lean red meat
and whole grains
“Nutrition is a component of health for the entire body
including the eyes
” said Somer
a registered dietician and nutrition research expert. “I suggest incorporating nutritious ingredients into daily menus. There are some great
quick and simple recipes that promote healthy eye sight and vision.”
One example of a quick and easy eye-healthy recipe includes:
Whole-Wheat Penne with Spinach and Gorgonzola
10 oz. uncooked whole-wheat penne pasta
Olive oil cooking spray
1 1/2 cup yellow onion
diced (~1 medium onion)
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Roma tomatoes
chopped (~2 cups)
1 (6-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
1/3 cup fresh basil
chopped or 1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese [or substitute ½ cup low-fat freshly-grated parmesan cheese]
1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions
without salting water.
While pasta is cooking
spray a large
non-stick frying pan with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Add onions
then stir and cook until slightly transparent
approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic
stir and cook for another minute. Add broth and let simmer for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes
and simmer for 2 minutes. Add spinach and basil
cook and stir for approximately 2 minutes
or until leaves wilt. Remove from heat and salt/pepper to taste.
Drain pasta and add to spinach mixture. Thoroughly toss. Serve on a platter and top with gorgonzola (or parmesan) cheese and pine nuts. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional Information (per serving): 300 Calories; 25% fat (8.3 g total
2.8 g saturated)
57% carbohydrate (43 g)
18% protein (13.5 g)
8 mg cholesterol
8.6 g fiber
27 mg vitamin C
1.33 mg vitamin E
20.4 mg lutein/zeaxanthin
271 mg sodium.
Did You Know?
Eating spinach can reduce your risk of getting certain eye diseases like AMD because it contains a large amount of lutein
an important eye nutrient. In order to maintain healthy eyes
add 10 mg of lutein to your diet each day or eat one cup of cooked spinach four times a week.
More than 50 percent of Americans do not take in the recommended dosage of Vitamin C per day. Vitamin C has been linked
in approved amounts
to minimize or reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD.
One cup (8 fl oz) of orange juice per day contains 81.6 mg/serving of Vitamin C
more than enough to help offset some eye diseases.
To find an optometrist in your area
or for additional information on nutrition and eye-healthy recipes as well as other issues concerning eye health
please visit www.aoa.org.
About the survey
The third annual American Eye-Q® survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn
Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB). From May 17-19
using an online methodology
PSB interviewed 1
001 Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of U.S. general population. (Margin of error at 95 percent confidence level.)
About the American Optometric Association (AOA)
The American Optometric Association represents approximately 36
000 doctors of optometry
optometry students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians. Optometrists serve patients in nearly 6
500 communities across the country
and in 3
500 of those communities are the only eye doctors. Doctors of optometry provide two-thirds of all primary eye care in the United States.
American Optometric Association doctors of optometry are highly qualified
trained doctors on the frontline of eye and vision care who examine
treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. In addition to providing eye and vision care
optometrists play a major role in a patient s overall health and well-being by detecting systemic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
Prior to optometry school
optometrists typically complete four years of undergraduate study
culminating in a bachelor s degree. Required undergraduate coursework for pre-optometry students is extensive and covers a wide variety of advanced health
science and mathematics. Optometry school consists of four years of post-graduate
doctoral study concentrating on both the eye and systemic health. In addition to their formal training
doctors of optometry must undergo annual continuing education to stay current on the latest standards of care. For more information
About Kemin – Inspired Molecular Solutions™
Founded in 1961
Inc. provides health and nutritional solutions to the agrifoods
pet food and human health and pharmaceutical industries. Kemin operates in more than 60 countries with manufacturing facilities in Belgium
and the United States. For more information about Kemin
About DSM Nutritional Products
DSM Nutritional Products is the world s leading supplier of vitamins
carotenoids and other fine chemicals to the feed
pharmaceutical and personal care industries. The business has sales of over EUR 2 billion and a long tradition as a pioneer in the discovery of new products
new formulations and attractive applications for all industry segments. For further company information please visit http://www.dsmnutritionalproducts.com.