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The Eyes Have It! Nutrition for Eye Health

Bring Fall Colors to Your Plate to Decrease Risks for Age-Related Eye Disease
by Laura Stepp MA, RD, CDE at LMC

Fall is the perfect time of year to try new foods and new recipes. It’s the time of year that we gather with friends and family to celebrate our favorite sports teams and the holidays. It’s also the time of year for some of the most colorful fall foods. Like the changing of the leave,s red, yellow, orange and, yes, even green foods make up the colors we want to see as we take that fall drive and what we want to see on our harvest tables.

collardsWhich seasonal fall foods are best for our eyes and our health? Winter squash, of course. Types of squash include pumpkin (it’s not just for pie), spaghetti (great as a pasta alternative), acorn, butternut and delica. Winter squash is packed full of nutritional benefits. It’s a source of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A. It’s also an excellent source of the carotenoids lutein and zeanxanthin, which help to protect the eye from ultraviolet and environmental damage. Vitamin A not only helps to keep our eyes healthy, but it also helps us to see better at night by adjusting to dim light. In addition to our eyes, vitamin A helps keep our skin healthy as well as the lining our mouth, nose, throat and digestive tract. Orange colored winter squash or other orange colored vegetables aren’t the only source of these important carotenoids; green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collards contain anti-inflammatory substances. Even dark green vegetables likes broccoli and Brussels’ sprouts are known sources of these healthy nutrients.

orangeAll of the above mentioned foods are also sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C has been found to be concentrated in eye tissue supporting the health of blood vessels. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruit, red bell peppers (orange and yellow too), tomatoes and spinach.

But what about protein foods? Zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E are all found in protein food sources. Zinc is especially abundant in seafood. Would anyone like oyster dressing? Zinc is also found in all animal meats as well as eggs and beans. Omega-3s are found in most seafood and some cold water fish. Other sources of omega-3s are walnuts, ground flaxseed, chia seeds and yes, dark green leafy vegetables. Vitamin E – which helps to protect the eyes and body from environmental damage by playing a role in stopping inflammation and tissue repair – can be found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.

Whole foods provide the combination of nutrients our bodies need to function effectively. Therefore eat a variety of foods – a full rainbow of colorful foods – to nourish, heal and power us to better health and better, healthier holidays.

pumpkin up closePumpkin Stew
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin (curry powder may be substituted)
1 (15 oz.) can pureed pumpkin (2 cups fresh may be substituted)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, no salt added, drained
1 (15 oz.) can yellow corn kernels, no salt added, drained (1-1½ cups fresh or frozen may be substituted)
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, no salt added
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (vegetable may be substituted)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup plain, low-fat yogurt, optional

In large saucepan warm oil over medium heat. Stir in peppers, onion and garlic and sauté about 6 minutes until peppers and onion soften. Stir in cumin and continue to cook 1-2 minutes.

Pour in pumpkin, beans, corn, tomatoes and broth. Add 1 teaspoon cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer 25 minutes.

Divide stew among four bowls and garnish with cilantro and yogurt, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Per 2 cup serving: 301 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 57 g carbohydrate, 14 g protein, 14 g dietary fiber, 307 mg sodium.

Horn of plentyBrussel Sprout Slaw with Cranberries and Walnuts
3/4 lb. Brussels sprouts
1 Fuji or Gala apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (see Notes)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Trim bottom from sprouts and remove any loose or bruised leaves. Place shredding disk or fine slicing disk in food processor, and using feeder tube, gradually shred Brussels sprouts; there will be about 4 1/2 cups (see Notes). Transfer shredded sprouts to mixing bowl.

Add apple, cranberries, walnuts, salt, pepper and lemon juice and stir with a fork for 1 minute to combine well. Add oil and stir well. Cover and refrigerate slaw for 3 hours to overnight. Re-stir before serving. This slaw is best served within 24 hours.

Notes:
•If Meyer lemons are not available, use 1/4 cup regular fresh lemon juice.
•If your food processor does not have a shredding dish, quarter Brussels sprouts vertically and place in food processor fitted with a chopping blade. Pulse until sprouts are finely chopped, stopping several times to scrape down bowl. Take care not to leave big chunks or to turn sprouts into mush.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 1/2 cup

Per serving: 120 calories, 7 g fat (1 g sat fat), 16 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 3 g fiber, 130 mg sodium.

Breakfast Perspective

by Morgan Robbins, RD, LD at LMC

Breakfast has been under ridicule lately that it may not be the most important meal of the day. Let’s get back to the basics: think of your body as being in a fasting state while you’re sleeping until the moment that you wake up (breaking the fast = breakfast, clever right?).

banana_2Eating an early meal soon after waking up will jump-start your metabolism and get your body ready for the day. Remember, FOOD is fuel; it’s what helps you get through the day. You get out what you put in, if you don’t put fuel in the tank or put poor quality fuel in, you’re not going to go very far (example: you skip breakfast or eat foods lacking in quality nutrition more than likely you’re going to be starving by lunch time and make poor choices). This will help put the meals and foods you choose into a new perspective.

breakfast9What to eat always seems to be the question. Too many people are choosing high fat, high cholesterol, high sodium breakfasts that are lacking the nutrition needed to give your body the energy it requires. I’m talking bacon, sausage, biscuits with gravy, chicken nuggets and hash. These are all foods to be consumed in moderation and preferably not as the meal you chose to give your body the fuel it needs to start your day.

Let’s compare a healthy breakfast with a not-so-healthy breakfast:

Whole wheat toast w/ 1 Tbsp peanut butter
½ cup blueberries
1 banana
Greek yogurt

411 calories
27 gm protein
8 gm fiber
22% calories from fat
3 mg cholesterol
287 mg sodium

Sausage biscuit
Grits

618 calories
14 gm protein
2 gm fiber
54% calories from fat
33 mg cholesterol
1,373 mg sodium

In addition to being the better choice, you’re getting whole grains, healthy fats and more vitamins and minerals with the healthy breakfast compared to the not so healthy breakfast. You’re also getting more food with the healthy breakfast – so enjoy!

When doing so in moderation, you can make all foods fit into a healthy diet. Moderation is the key. When planning or ordering your breakfast tomorrow, keep in mind this is the fuel your body will use to start your day off right!

Preventing Cancer With A Healthy Diet

by Morgan Robbins, RD, LD at LMC

Research suggests that one-third of all cancers are preventable. Through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes you can protect yourself from developing cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) suggests nine ways to reduce your risk for cancer:

belly1. Maintain a healthy weight- Visit the Centers for Disease Control’s Healthy Weight Assessment to see what weight category you fall under. Keep in mind BMI is not a suitable indicator for all populations.

2. MOVE- Participate in some type of physical activity at least 30 minutes daily. Try parking at the opposite end of the parking lot, or squeeze in a walk on your lunch break.

3. Choose less calorie-dense foods- Low calorie-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, contain little added fats and sugar.

4. Follow a plant-based diet- Plant based diets can help lower your risk for cancer; focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes.

wine glass15. Eat less red and processed meats- Aim for less than 18 ounces of cooked red/processed meats such as bologna, hot dogs, bacon, sausage and deli meats per week.

6. Cut down on alcohol- One drink per day for women, two drinks per day for men and no- you cannot save all of your drinks for the weekend.

7. Eat less salt- Limit processed foods and foods that contain excess salt, get rid of the salt shaker and replace it with fresh herbs and spices.

8. Don’t rely on dietary supplements- Chose a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants rather than relying on vitamins and supplements.

breastfeeding_29. Breastfeed your baby if possible- Breastfeeding can help protect Mom from cancer while baby reaps all the benefits.