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Did You Know

Did You Know: Eggs

Did You KnowLaurie Capogna

Did you know eating eggs helps prevent macular degeneration without raising lipid and cholesterol levels in your body?

  • Eggs are a great source of the macular pigment lutein.
  • A diet rich in lutein has been shown to aid in the prevention of AMD and cataracts.

AMD (Age-related macular degeneration) is a chronic disease and is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world.  A diet rich in nutrients for your eyes can help to prevent or reduce the risk of progression of AMD.

Key Nutrients in the Prevention of AMD through diet:

  • Lutein and zeaxanthin
  • Vitamin C and Vitamin E
  •  Beta-Carotene
  • Zinc
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Eggs are a staple ingredient in most refrigerators and provide our bodies with a bio-available source of lutein.  In addition to lutein eggs also contain significant amounts of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.

Recent studies have shown that consumption of eggs increased serum lutein and zeaxanthin levels without negatively affecting serum lipid levels.  Other studies have also confirmed that healthy individuals can eat an egg day without increasing their risk for heart disease or stroke.

Did You Know: Exercise

Did You KnowLaurie Capogna

Did you know regular exercise helps to decrease the risk of macular degeneration? 

  • Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the western world.
  • Adults should participate in moderate to intense physical activity for 30 minutes everyday and kids for 1 hour everyday.

Physical activity is essential for a healthy lifestyle.  We are all well aware of the long term health benefits of exercise and physical activity, but making physical activity a regular part of your life will help you feel younger, stronger, and more energetic right now.

We recommend regular exercise as part of an eye friendly lifestyle. Exercising at least 3 times per week can slow the progression of macular degeneration.

Increased physical activity can also decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Other health benefits of physical exercise include weight control, stronger muscles and bones, reduced stress, and increased energy and vitality.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends:

  • Adults: 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week.
  • Children and youth: 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per day.
  • If you have any health concerns, consult your physician before starting any new exercise program.

Did You Know: Leafy Greens

Did You KnowLaurie Capogna

Did you know leafy green vegetables are the perfect Eyefood?

They contain high amounts of most eye nutrients. Lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc and fiber.

Leafy green vegetables are the gold medalists of Eyefoods as they contain most of the essential nutrients necessary for healthy eyes.

When you eat cooked leafy green vegetables your body absorbs more lutein and zeaxanthin and when you eat raw leafy green vegetables your body absorbs more vitamin C.

Diets rich in leafy green vegetables preserve eye health and also may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and many types of cancer.

Eyefoods Tip: Lutein and Zeaxanthin are fat soluble antioxidants and need fat to be transported in the body. Add health fats such as olive oil or avocado to your leafy greens for better absorption of lutein.

Did You Know: Beta Carotene

Did You KnowLaurie Capogna

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.

Did You Know: Turkey

Did You KnowLaurie Capogna

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! 

Happy Thanksgiving from Eyefoods! And, what better time to talk about the great benefits of the highlight of Thanksgiving dinner, the Turkey! 

Turkey is high in 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.

Did You Know: Kiwi

Did You KnowLaurie Capogna

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

Did You Know: Fiber

Did You KnowLaurie Capogna

Did you know black beans are high in fiber? 

  • A diet high in fiber is an eye healthy diet and helps reduce your risk for AMD.

Dietary fiber is exists in two forms: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Black beans are a source of soluble fiber. Some other sources of soluble fiber are oatmeal, barley, citrus and strawberries. Sources of insoluble fiber are cereal, cabbage, carrots and brussel sprouts.

Foods that are high in fiber can help to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. This is because high-fiber foods have tend to have a low glycemic index.  On the contrary foods with a high glycemic index like white bread and foods high in sugar can increase your risk of AMD and cataracts.

A great way to add black beans into your diet is in your salads and soups! Try them in our Eyefoods Black Bean and Mango Salad for a recipe full of additional nutrients for healthy eyes.

Did You Know: Fish

Did You KnowLaurie Capogna

Did you know cold-water fish are a great source of omega-3-fatty acids? 

For your eye health cold-water fish has protective effects against AMD, cataracts and dry eye syndrome because of its high concentration of omega-3-fatty acids (DHA and EPA).

Omega 6 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory.
  • It’s all about balance, the ideal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is 4:1 or less. The average North American has a ratio of 15:1 or higher. 
  • Avoid foods that are high in omega 6 fatty acid such as processed foods.
  • Look for foods high in omega 3 fatty acids – such as cold-water fish.

Eyefoods Fish Recommendations:

  • Eat cold water fish, 4 per week gives you 850mg of DHA and EPA per day.
  • One Eyefoods serving of fish is the size of a deck of cards.
  •  Small fish tend to have fewer contaminants such as mercury and PCB’s when compared to larger fish.
  • Eat wild salmon, sardines, rainbow trout and mackerel – they are high in omega 3 fatty acids and low in contaminants.

Eyefoods Rule of thumb: if the entire fish fits on your dinner plate it is probably safe to eat.