Thursday, December 31, 2015

Eyefoods Tips: Smoking

Smoking is the number 1 modifiable risk factor for leading cause of blindness in the world – AMD

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic disease of the central part of the retina, the macula. It is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world.
There are two forms of AMD: dry AMD which is more common and wet AMD.

Dry AMD occurs when cells in the macula begin to break down, causing a thinning of the macula and a gradual decrease in vision.  In addition the retina is unable to rid itself of its metabolic wasted – lipofuscin and it accumulates in the retina as drusen , which blocks normal functioning of the retina.

Dry AMD can lead to wet AMD. Wet AMD is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the choroid, which provides blood supply to the retina.  The new vessels are weak and can lead fluid into the retina, causing a decrease in vision that is more rapid and dramatic than in dry AMD.

Smoking is one of the highest risk factors for AMD as it promotes oxidative damage to the retina.

Eyecare professionals recommend that most patients with AMD take and AREDs- type vitamin supplement and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. However, numerous studies have shown a relationship between nutrition and AMD. Some key nutrients for the prevention of AMD are, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and, omega-3 fatty acids.

For the best treatment plan for you it is best to consult with your optometrist.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Did You Know: Turkey Breast

Did you know turkey breast is a fantastic source of zinc and vitamin E.  
  •            Two important eye nutrients and antioxidants.
  •       The Eyefoods plan recommends eating turkey breast every week – no need to save it for Thanksgiving!


Zinc is an essential trace mineral that exists in every cell of our bodies. It supports our immune system and the healing process.  Zinc also encourages normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence.

For our eye health, zinc helps to mobilize antioxidants from our liver to the retina.  It also has been shown to decrease the risk of AMD.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant found in fruit and also in oils, nuts, eggs and fortified cereals.

Vitamin E in addition to other antioxidants may decrease the risk of cataracts and AMD. It has also been shown to protect the body against cancer and cardiovascular system.

Eyefoods Tips:
  •            Use turkey breasts instead of chicken breasts. The zinc content is much higher in turkey.
  •       Use ground turkey instead of ground beef for eye healthy hamburgers, meatballs, or chili.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Eyefoods Tips: Blue Light

Do you work on a computer all day? Lutein and zeaxanthin are in the retina and protect our eyes from blue light emitted by our technology devices.

Computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones all emit high amounts of blue light.

Blue light (short wavelength visible light) causes oxidative stress to the retina.  This will have a particular effect on people with less of the macular pigments lutein and zeaxanthin. People with light coloured irides, people with AMD, and people with a genetic predisposition to AMD are more susceptible to the harmful effects of blur light.

In addition to damage to the retina, blue light also causes glare and eye fatigue. Protect your eyes from blue light by wearing glasses that filter.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are pigments that found in the macula (the central part of the retina). Our bodies can not make lutein and zeaxanthin and so we must obtain them from our diet.  Lutein and zeaxanthin act to absorb blue and UV light which protects the macular from their harmful effects.

Kale, and dark leafy greens are a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, with Kale being the top Eyefood for eye nutrients.

A diet high in lutein and zeaxanthin can improve vision in those with age related macular degeneration and also protect against it.

If you use technology devices often you should also consider asking your optometrist about blue blocking lenses for added vision protection.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Did You Know: Beta Carotene

Did you know the highest food source of beta-carotene is the sweet potato? 
  • Beta carotene from food is important for your eye health.
  • Your body converts beta carotene to vitamin A. Vitamin A is used by the rods and cones to generate a vision signal.
Beta- carotene is a carotenoid found in fruits and vegetables. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which is used by the rods and cones to generate a vision signal.

A diet high in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of AMD and cataracts when consumed in combination with other antioxidants.  High blood levels of beta-carotene may also decrease the risk of chronic disease and protect the body from disease caused by oxidative damage such as heart disease and cancer.

Recent studies have been raising questions regarding taking beta-carotene as a supplement.  Taking beta-carotene supplements an increase the risk of lung cancers in smokers, therefore people that smoke should not take these supplements. However, eating a diet rich in beta-carotene does not increase the risk of lung cancer.

Sweet potatoes top the list as the number one orange vegetable as a source of beta-carotene.  Sweet potatoes also contain a significant amount of fiber.  They are readily available throughout the year and found in the late summer and early fall at local farmer’s markets.

They make a great substitution for white potatoes and can be enjoyed, baked, mashed, or roasted with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Eyefoods Tips: Lutein and Zeaxanthin

One medium leaf of kale contains the Eyefoods daily recommended dose of Lutein and zeaxanthin.

Kale is a top Eyefood! It is a nutritional powerhouse containing large amounts of disease fighting anti-oxidants, carotenoids and other nutrients. The nutrients in Kale have been shown to be protective against age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and, cancer.

One leaf of kale contains nearly 10mg of lutein which is the daily recommended dose. Lutein and its side kick zeaxanthin, are pigments abundant in the macula that exert protective effects on the retina. They protect against oxidative damage, UV and blue light.

As kale is such a great nutrient source, eating it every week is a great way to protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration, the number one cause of vision loss in North America.  With the additional nutrients in kale, it makes a great choice for vision and all around health for your body!

Eyefoods Kale Tips:
  • To revive ‘wilted’ kale from your refrigerator, cut an inch or two off of the stems and place in cold water for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • It is a cold weather vegetable. It grows best in spring and fall harvesting kale after the first frost gives it a smoother flavor.
  • Enjoy both raw and cooked with a small amount of healthy fat, such as extra virgin olive oil to receive all of its nutritional benefits.
  • Kale makes a great addition to your smoothies and salads. Or for a tasty snack, try kale chips.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Eyefoods Tips: Antioxidants

Antioxidants help prevent eye disease such as AMD and Cataracts.
  • Get your antioxidants by eating brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
  •  Getting them from food versus only from supplements allows your body to benefit from the synergy of the nutrients in foods.

Antioxidants are a class of substances that help to prevent oxidation in the body. Examples are, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as phytochemicals such as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Oxidation is a chemical reaction in the body that changes a stable molecule into a free radical. Free radicals can form from environmental factors including, exposure to UV light, hazardous chemicals and air pollution. They can also be formed due to the natural aging process, poor dietary habits and smoking.

If left unchecked free radicals can damage the body and tissues leading to a variety of chronic disease such as age-related macular degenerations, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

However, antioxidants may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer.

Fruits and vegetables, cold water fish, eggs and plant oils are some examples of great antioxidant sources for vision health.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tropical Post Run Smoothie

Exercise, Then Drink This!

This simple and  refreshing treat is packed with eye nutrients. The combination of leafy greens and fruit are a great source of lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin C!

In addition to feeding your eyes, the coconut water in this recipe will replenish your body with much needed electrolytes after a summer run or workout. 


3/4 Cup Frozen Diced Mango
1/4 Cup Frozen Pineapple Chunks 
1 Cup Spinach or Kale 
1 Cup Coconut Water

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend and enjoy! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Did You Know: Kiwi

Did you know kiwi is the highest fruit source of vitamin C?
  • 1 kiwi contains nearly 2 times the amount of vitamin C than an orange.

Vitamin C is water soluble antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables. Our bodies cannot make or store vitamin C so it is essential to consume foods high in vitamin C in our diet.

It is important to consume foods high in vitamin C several times a day because vitamin C has a short half like meaning it breaks down quickly once consumed.

Vitamin C along with other antioxidants are important for eye health as vitamin C is abundant in all ocular tissues and has also been down to decrease the risk of AMD and cataracts. 

Vitamin C also helps to maintain a healthy immune system and increases the body’s ability to absorb iron from plant sources. It may also decrease the risk of stroke, heart attack and lung cancer.

In addition to being a source of vitamin C, kiwi is also a source of vitamin E, fiber, lutein and zeaxanthin, and zinc – all important nutrients for eye health!

Great ways to enjoy Kiwi:
  • As a mid-morning snack
  • In a fruit salad for dessert 
  • Add to your morning green smoothie

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Eyefoods Tips: Eggs

4 eggs per week, the yolk is good 

Eggs are a great source of eye nutrients. They contain significant amounts of vitamin E, lutein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Most of the eggs nutrients are in the yolk, so you should eat the entire egg for the full nutritional benefit.

Historically, eggs have not been considered a health food because of their cholesterol content. A large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1999 found that there was no link between moderate egg consumption (one egg per day) and an increased risk of stroke or cardiovascular disease in healthy patients.

Eyefoods Tip: When buying eggs, look for those highest in omega-3 fatty acids whenever possible. Also, eggs that have been fed a diet high in flax and corn have high lutein and omega-3 content. Eggs with a high omega-3 content also tend to be a good source of vitamin E.