Thursday, September 27, 2012

Three Retinal Pigments

Lutein, zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin

Lutein, zeaxanthin and  meso-zeaxanthin are macular pigments that absorb blue light and protect the retina from oxidative damage while improving visual performance. Our bodies cannot synthesize lutein and zeaxanthin, but we can metabolize meso-zeaxanthin from lutein in the absence of zeaxanthin.
The average North American receives only 1 mg lutein per day from their diet.  Scientists believe that we need between 6mg and 10mg of lutein per day to maintain a healthy retina and prevent the progression of AMD.

Consume foods that are high in both lutein and zeaxanthin every day.

Foods high in lutein:  Leafy green vegetables, eggs
Foods high in zeaxanthin: Orange peppers, goji berries
Meso-zeaxanthin is not commonly found in food

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kale: The Lutein Powerhouse

One leaf of kale contains 10mg of lutein.  An excellent way to add kale to your daily diet is to make Dr. Barb’s Green Smoothie.

2 cups packed kale leaves, washed and coarsely chopped
2 ripe kiwis, peeled and quartered
1 cup sweet green grapes (or 1 banana)
Juice of one lime
1 cup filtered water
1.             Put grapes in blender. Twirl until blended.
2.             Add kiwis, kale and water. Blend until smooth.
3.             Check consistency and add water as needed.
4.             Taste; flavor will vary depending on how sweet the kiwis and grapes are.   Adjust accordingly.
5.             If too tart, omit the lime juice and add grapes.
6.             If sweet, add lime juice.
Tips: If kiwis are quite sweet, you will get more eye nutrients by using more kiwis and less grapes or bananas. If using bananas, adding lime juice is essential to reduce oxidation (browning) of the smoothie. Enjoy immediately and keep leftovers in individual reusable bottles in the fridge for up to four days. Before drinking leftovers, shake well.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blue Light and The Eye

Blue light causes oxidative stress to the retina, especially in people with low macular pigment optical density (MPOD).  Blue light also causes visual disturbance.

Wear sunglasses that filter blue light for AMD prevention and enhanced visual performance.

Drobek-Slowik, M., Karczewicz, D., and Safranow, K. 2007. The potential role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of the age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Postepy Hig Med Dosw 61:28-37 (ISSN: 1732-2693).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quit Smoking

Smoking is the number one modifiable risk factor for AMD.

Current smokers are 45% more likely to develop early AMD or AMD progression over 15 years compared to people that have never smoked.

On the Road to Quitting:  Guide to becoming a non-smoker

Klein, Further observations on the association between smoking and the long-term incidence and progression of AMD, 115-21.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Black Bean and Mango Salad

This tasty side dish is a staple in my house.  It will win over even the pickiest of husbands and kids! 

This recipe contains a balance of eye nutrients.  It is high in fiber, zeaxanthin, vitamin C and E.
Enjoy it on it’s own for lunch or as a side dish to cold-water fish or an omelet.

2 cups (1 can) black beans, rinsed 1 mango, chopped 1 orange pepper, chopped 1⁄2 red pepper, chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped Zest of 1 lime 3 tbsp fresh parsley or cilantro (1 1/2 tsp dried) Optional: 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp limejuice 1 tsp Dijon mustard Salt & pepper
Directions 1. Toss ingredients of salad together in a medium sized bowl. 2. Mix dressing in a small bowl or jar until it has an even consistency. 3. Add dressing to salad. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

Note:  If you like spicy dishes, add more jalapeno peppers. You can also add hot sauce or red chili pepper flakes to taste.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Eyefoods Tip - Antioxidants

Antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage to ocular tissues like that seen in age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.  The important antioxidants for the maintenance of ocular health and prevention of ocular disease are:

Vitamins A,C, E, lutein and zeaxanthin, selenium, zinc and CoQ10

Eat a diet filled with a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Getting these antioxidants from food, versus only from supplements or vitamins, allows your body to take advantage of the synergy of the nutrients in foods.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Eyefoods Tips - Maintaining Healthy Weight

High BMI and high waist-to-hip ratio are associated with an increased risk for AMD.

Maintain a normal BMI and lose excess weight to help prevent sight threatening eye disease. 

Here is a handy BMI chart.

Seddon, J., J. Cote, N. Davis, and B. Rosner. 2003. Progression of ARM associated with BMI, waist circumference and waist, hip ratio. Arch ophthalmol 121: 785-92.