Macular disease is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia. It includes age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease, along with other less common diseases of the macula.
Your eyes are intricate and important, so learning how to eat for healthier eyes, is a vital step in looking after your eyes and preventing vision loss.
Proper nutrition is critical to eye health, so what are some key recipes that can help you prevent Macular Degeneration? With Macular Degeneration in mind, here are some healthy recipes for eye health, from recipes shared in ‘Macula Menu’ 1)https://www.mdfoundation.com.au/content/macula-menu-2020, an e-cookbook from the Macular Foundation Australia.2)https://www.mdfoundation.com.au/
You’ll find ‘Savvy Comments’ regarding adaptations after each recipe to make them more in keeping with the Eat Savvy Diet principles.
Why Would the Recipes Need Adapting?
While these recipes included some healthy foods that contained nutrients helpful for preventing Age-Related Macular Degeneration, they did not take into account other factors related to health that we incorporate into the Eat Savvy principles.
In addition, they overlook the findings from researches and clinicians such as Ophthalmologist Dr. Chris Knobbe 3)https://www.cureamd.org/introduction-is-age-related-macular-degeneration-amd-preventable-and-treatable-with-diet/ and do not avoid potentially problematic processed foods and vegetable oils. This is a major oversight in our opinion.
In each recipe – you’ll find ‘SAVVY SUGGESTIONS‘ for how to make the recipes healthier for your eyes (and health!) We have included the recipe as-is from the ‘Macula Menu’ for your reference.
‘Orecchiette with english spinach, broccolini, lemon and garlic’.
It looks delicious, however, we would lose the pasta and double the vegetables for a savvier version.
300g orecchiette pasta
1 bunch broccolini, washed and woody ends trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1⁄2 bunch basil, leaves washed and chopped
12 English spinach leaves, washed and stems removed
Best quality extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the orecchiette and cook for 15 minutes or until al dente. Drain and refresh with cold water. [Save time and skip this step]
Boil the broccolini / Broccoli florettes (double the greens and add one carrot julienned) in a saucepan for 4 minutes, remove and slice into small pieces.
3Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion, garlic and broccolini for 5 minutes or until tender.
Add the orecchiette, stir until combined … (or skip the pasta) and then add the lemon zest, basil and spinach.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.
Pasta adds no nutritional value, and evidence suggests that eliminating high carb foods helps your eye health!4)https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070711134553.htm
A head of broccoli can be substituted for broccolini. Plus our suggestion is to double the green vegetable and add a julienned carrot instead of the pasta.
Try using Ghee (clarified butter) in this recipe for frying! It will support the absorption of the lutein and zeaxanthin. You can then drizzle some olive oil on top and avoid damaging that precious and healthy olive oil!
Be sure to download the Eat Savvy Diet ‘spectrums’ – to help you know which oils are safest for cooking vs dressings.
Steamed snapper parcels with lime, ginger and soy, asian slaw and spicy mayo
6cm piece ginger, cut into fine batons
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 limes, peeled and diced
4 x 180g Snapper fillets all bones removed
1 cup red cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup wombok, shredded
1 carrot, cut into fine batons
2 green shallots, finely sliced
1 cup snow peas, finely sliced (not so savvy if you are affected by lectins)
1⁄2 bunch coriander leaves
1⁄2 bunch mint leaves
2 Vietnamese mint leaves, chopped
1 cup Kewpie mayonnaise* (we suggest make your own healthy savvy version)
2 tsp sesame oil
1⁄2 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Mix the ginger, garlic, Kaffir lime leaves, soy, fish sauce, and lime pieces. Place each snapper fillet on a square of non-stick baking paper, then top with a spoon of the ginger mixture. Fold to enclose, then arrange in a steamer basket over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook for 10 minutes, until just firm.
In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, wombok, carrot, shallots, snow peas, and herbs. To make mayo, in a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sesame oil, chili powder, and sesame seeds.
Place piles of slaw on each plate then unwrap the sh parcels and serve. Dress with spicy mayonnaise.
The benefits for the eyes, of this otherwise excellent recipe from Fast Ed, is destroyed by the cup of Kewpie Mayonnaise.
While Kewpie Mayo is seemingly fashionable and tasty, it is not ‘eye-savvy’! As with most commercial Mayonnaise, it is loaded with inflammatory vegetable or canola oils, and most commercial Kewpie mayos along also come with a ‘side-helping’ of added sugar and MSG.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is essential to the ‘umami flavour’ of Japanese mayonnaise and so all of them will have this. Definitely leave this mayo out of the recipe and opt for a home-made variety with better choice of oils and additions. You can spice up that vasic recipe and experiment for that Japanese flavour.
“I believe polyunsaturated vegetable oils are the single greatest contributor to irreversible blindness.”Dr Chris Knobbe, Ophthalmologist.
Salmon Salad with Goji Berries (or Pomegranate Pearls)
2 skinless salmon fillets (best to use skin-on for extra fats and collagen)
1 avocado, cut into segments
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp goji berries (best to use pomegranate pearls)
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (best replace with nuts)
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
washed Lemon wedges
Cook salmon fillets to your liking by grilling (skin-side down), cooking on the char grill, or steaming. Once fillets are cooked set aside to cool slightly.
Flake salmon into chunks.
Add avocado, chives, goji berries (or pomegranate pearls), pumpkin seeds (or other nuts), watercress, lemon rind, lemon juice, and oil in a large bowl.
Season and toss gently to combine.
Plate up salad mixture on a serving dish, top with flaked salmon and serve with lemon wedges.
Note: You can make this with any mix of salad greens such as baby spinach, rocket, and endive.
Forget skinless salmon – eat the salmon skin! It has more omega 3 fats along with collagen, both healthy for the eyes. You can remove the salmon from the skin after cooking and then re-fry the skin until crispy. Break up the skin and sprinkle on the salad!
We suggest ‘Salmon & Avocado Salad with Pomegranate Pearls’! Goji berries (unless extracted as part of a supplement) can trigger inflammation in some people. Pomegranate Pearls look fresh, add a crunch to the salad, and are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. You can even get them in the supermarket imn the frozen fruit section ready to use!
This delicious salad was inspired by a trip to Istanbul. Quantities to your liking.
Pumpkin (see notes)
Pepitas and sunflower seeds (see notes
Farro whole grain (see notes)
Beetroot (baked in oven)
Fresh salad leaves – such as spinach, basil, radicchio
Smoked trout Preserved lemon
Cook a cup of farro in vegetable stock with saffron strands. (You can use a rice cooker for this). Allow to cool.
Cube pumpkin and spray with olive oil. Roast with sumac and seeds in the oven. Allow to cool.
Cube beetroot (no need to work from scratch here, let’s face it this is a messy task and excellent pre-packed beetroot is available at the greengrocer or supermarket)
Gather and wash fresh garden greens. Salad leaves, spinach, basil and radicchio are a great combination.
Toss with goat’s cheese and olive oil. Add pumpkin, farro whole grain and seeds. Serve with smoked trout and preserved lemon.
As far as the eye health benefits go when comparing sweet potato to pumpkin – sweet potato wins here as the nutritional superior. Sweet potatoes have more protein, fiber, magnesium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C than pumpkin does.
Although Farro is a nutritious ancient grain, it is still ‘wheat’ and so contains gluten. Farro is often thought to contain lower levels of gluten than modern wheat, and many people think ancient grains are safer for people with gluten-related conditions. You can try using hulled Millet if you want to use grain. It is safer and less inflammatory.
Kale and Pineapple Power Drink
2 kale leaves
2 slices fresh pineapple, skin removed
1 slice ginger, peeled (about 10 grams)
1 leaf silverbeet spinach
3 sprigs mint
2 tsp honey
Wash all leafy greens.
Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Add honey to taste.
SAVVY SUGESTIONS & TIPS
Avoid the honey if you can, as this should be sweet enough. Throw in some superfood green powder as well as a fresh greens!
EYE FLOATERS: Taiwanese researchers showed that a daily intake of 100 to 300 grams of pineapples over a period of three months will help improve “eye floaters”! 5)http://www.jofamericanscience.org/journals/am-sci/jas150419/03_34649jas150419_17_30.pdf
Researchers say pineapples are rich in vitamin C and bromelain. Vitamin C is an antioxidant agent and bromelain is an enzyme with health benefits.
The challenge here is that pineapple has high sugar content. Excess pineapple consumption could lead to high blood sugar, hyperlipidemia, and fatty liver disease. Moderate consumption is the key.
So of eye floaters are a concern, you can also try adding digestive enzymes and an antioxidant blend to your regimen.
Concluding Thoughts & Action Steps
Monica L. Monica, MD, PhD, a clinical spokeswoman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, says “it’s hard to get the same high levels of nutrients from food alone, that you get from good quality supplements.”
This is why we always recommend supplementation as well as healthy, savvy eating – as a strategy to protect and care for your eyes.
- Learn more about how to eat for healthier eyes.
- The ‘Eat Savvy Diet’ overview is available for free here.
- Want more recipes and savvy cooking tips? Follow @HealthySavvyKitchen on Instagram.
Do you have questions about how to eat healthy for your eyes? Are you looking for a clear path to follow?
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