This winter, Vision Direct are here to recommend the foods that are in-season and are packed with flavour and vitamins. These vitamins are brilliant at helping your eyes to stay healthy and function to their full capabilities.
A healthy dietary lifestyle can prevent AMD
Just this week the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, a leading eye research centre in the USA, emphasised the importance of a ‘smart dietary lifestyle’. Research has shown that it is extremely helpful in preventing or slowing down Age Related Macular Degeneration (also known as AMD). This is a condition that results in the loss of central vision and affects over 600,000 people in the UK. This condition is most commonly experienced by people over the age of 50.
So for these frosty winter months, we’ve compiled some of the best foods for keeping your eyes healthy. We’ve made our choices from the foods that are most in-season over the coming months. When your food is ripe, your body gets the most of the nutrients that they contain, and you can enjoy their best flavour. So, if you're looking for a tasty, nutritious meal that provides your eyes with the vitamins they need, try including these foods as ingredients.
No surprise what our first choice is. We’re sure you’ve been told before that carrots help you to see in the dark. While this isn’t strictly true, they can help you fight off a condition known as night-blindness which is caused by Vitamin A deficiency. As well as Vitamin A, they contain Lutein, an antioxidant that is often found in the macula of the eye and protects it from any potential damage caused by oxygen.
Cooking Tip: Quick-steaming carrots is the best method for cooking them to keep their nutritional value. Minimal contact with heat and liquid over the shortest time possible is the way to ensure they retain all the good stuff!
This leafy green vegetable is almost always at the centre of each new dietary fad, and for good reason. As well as being high in fibre and low in fat, it also has benefits for your eye health. Like carrots, kale is high in lutein and also contains zeaxanthin, which helps to protect against cataracts as well as macular degeneration.
Cooking Tip: Kale has become a very popular ingredient in smoothies, due to its nutritional benefits. Mix it with apples and bananas for tasty and refreshing drink with a sweet, fruity flavour.
3) Red Cabbage
Both types of cabbage are in-season during winter, but we’ve plumped for red cabbage due to the splash of colour it brings to a dish. The delicious flavour and the fact it actually contains almost 10 times more beta-carotene than its green cousin, also helps!. Beta-carotene is converted into a form of Vitamin A called retinol, which protects the eye against age-related damage. Retinol is used to detect light and turn it into nerve impulses in the brain.
Cooking Tip: You can enjoy the delicious flavours of mulled wine without the booze by making a delicious red cabbage side. Cook your red cabbage with red onion, red wine vinegar, brown sugar and mixed spice, then add a clove-studded clementine. The result of this will be a comforting and festive side dish.
Mackerel is right in season around Christmas time and a delicious piece of smoked mackerel would be a tasty and even more nutritious alternative to smoked salmon. The omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel helps to prevent and reduce the effects of AMD and can keep eyes moisturised, preventing them from drying out.
Cooking Tip: Why not try making a smoked mackerel pâté? Blend mackerel with horseradish, Dijon mustard, pepper, butter, crème fraiche and lemon juice, for a delicious snack or perfect entertaining dish.
5) Brussels Sprouts
Love or hate them, sprouts are a staple of the British Christmas dinner. You might not, know, however, that they're fantastic for fighting off AMD. They’re full of antioxidants, including Vitamin C, which offers protection against UV light damage, making them a truly great choice for improving your eye’s health.
Cooking Tip: The smaller the sprout, the more tender and tasty it is, so it’s better to get a whole bunch of little ones rather than going for the bigger, bulkier sprouts.