Approximately 10 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a devastating eye disease and a leading cause of vision loss in people 65 years or older in the United States. Although there is no cure for AMD, studies show that eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, may reduce the risk of AMD or slow its progression in some people.
EyeCare America has teamed up with celebrity chefs from across the country to create the Feast Your Eyes on This! summer cookbook (PDF 3 MB). The book provides healthy summertime recipes that include foods rich in eye-healthy vitamins and antioxidants. Chefs including the host of the Food Network's Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller have submitted delicious recipes such as grilled tuna with pineapple orange salsa and strawberry cucumber salad that everyone will love and that are also good for your eyes.
"As a nutritionist, a mom and a cook, I am always looking to include foods with powerful antioxidants, like almonds and strawberries, in my recipes," added Chef Robin Miller, host of the Food Network's Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller. "A one-ounce handful of almonds is an excellent source of vitamin E, which is a powerful eye-healthy antioxidant."
So, what type of foods should you eat?
- Most fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin C, including oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers and tomatoes.
- Vitamin E can be found in vegetable oils (safflower and corn oil), almonds, pecans, wheat germ and sunflower seeds.
- For beta-carotene, try deep orange or yellow fruits and vegetables such as cantaloupe, mangos, apricots, peaches, sweet potatoes and carrots.
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, and asparagus are the primary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Good sources of zinc include beef, pork, lamb, oysters, eggs, shellfish, milk, peanuts, whole grains and wheat germ.
- Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are leafy green vegetables, nuts, fish, and vegetable oils such as canola, soy, and especially flaxseed.
Get the natural benefits of all of these foods and help preserve your vision. It's never too late or early to start eating right!
A healthy lifestyle not only includes healthy eating but healthy choices such as getting regular eye exams. If you or a loved one is concerned with affording an eye exam, check out EyeCare America. This year-round program promotes annual eye exams for people 65 and older, raises awareness of AMD, and facilitates access to care at no out-of-pocket cost for those who qualify. The eye exams will be provided by more than 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. Those interested can visit www.eyecareamerica.org to see if they qualify for a free eye exam.
EyeCare America is designed for people at increased risk for AMD, but who have NOT been diagnosed and who:
- Are age 65 and older;
- Are US citizens or legal residents;
- Have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years; and
- Do not belong to an HMO or the VA.
Eyeglasses, medicines, hospital services and fees of other medical professionals are not included.
For more information about EyeCare America's award-winning referral program, visit www.eyecareamerica.org.
The medical research about links between certain foods and nutrients and the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is on-going. EyeCare America's recipes focus on whole foods, not supplements that contain nutrients research has shown may be helpful in slowing the progression of AMD and assisting in eye health. By providing these recipes, EyeCare America, FAAO and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are not providing medical advice, prescribing treatment or projecting or guaranteeing any particular results, and each disclaims any liability. Regular eye exams by your ophthalmologist are the best way to diagnose eye diseases such as AMD in its early stages and to receive appropriate medical treatment.