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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.

•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.

The Health Risks of Illegal Tattoos

WIS-TV news reporter PJ Randhawa is working on a series this week on illegal tattoos in South Carolina. In the below segment, Dr. Stuart Hooks of Peterson & Plante Internal Medicine Associates, talks about the health concerns and dangers of getting an illegal tattoo. If you or one of your children is thinking about getting a tattoo, you want to watch.

Here is the text of the story:
A growing number of people, often teens, are getting permanent marks on their skin by amateur artists in homes and garages.

The amateur artists, known as “scratchers,” do the work for an extremely lower cost than professional tattoo artists, but the results are not comparable in quality.

“I couldn’t get (a tattoo), so that made it more tempting,” Dakota Jones, who was tattooed at age 14 by a scratcher, said. “You can put a piece of how you feel on the inside, on the outside of your body.”

Tattooing minors has always been illegal in South Carolina, but Jones had no problem finding someone to break the rules.

“I met my friends who started doing the tattoos. He was like, ‘Yeah, I do tattoos,’” Jones said. “He was like, ‘You want one?’ Sure. (Then) I was like, ‘Nah, I can’t get one in a shop. This might be OK.’”

Jones got that tattoo and others done by a scratcher.

“One of them I laid on a kitchen table when I did it – in a regular kitchen,” she said.

It happened over and over again from the hand of amateurs until she was 18 and that’s when she noticed things were a little off, including one tattoo was halfway finished.

“A lot of them the lines are shaky or crooked. Words are misspelled,” Scot “Spider” Kumo, owner of Animated Canvas Tattoo Studio, said.

Those are often the trademarks of scratchers.

“They are working out of their house, passing out diseases. Tattooing minors,” Kumo said.

It’s what scratchers can leave behind in the skin that poses a serious public health risk.

“You worry about things like HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B. The blood-borne diseases would be the biggest concerns,” Dr. Gregory Stuart Hooks said. “They can have permanent disfigurement.”

Tattoo parlors are regulated by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, and its artists are certified in blood-borne pathogens with standards for cleanliness in place. Scratchers don’t follow these regulations, especially when tattooing in a kitchen.

“You have E. Coli, and all the ones you get from produce and chicken,” Hooks said of diseases that can get from doing a tattoo in a kitchen area. “We know how sick we can get if they get into our system. Imagine how sick we can get if they get into our skin. Plus all the diseases you can get from pets.”

Instead of stealing business from licensed tattoo studios, certified artists say scratchers actually have the opposite effect.

“It makes me more money because I get to cover up that awful tattoo they have,” Mick Jackson, a professional tattoo artist, said. “It’s probably two or three times the cost it cost them initially.”

But it’s that cheap and quick price for why many people say, ‘Yes,’ to scratchers.

“Now I have one on my back and I paid $20 for it,” Jones said. “Something you would pay $400 for in a shop.”

Jackson said there are people who tell him they would come to his shop for a professional tattoo, but they don’t because they don’t have the money to pay the price.

Jones said the scratchers she’s encountered charge her based on how much money they need at the time.

“The ones I have seen, it’s about the money,” she said. “What can I do to get this amount of money out of you? I will charge you $20 more to do one extra little thing. It’s just about what they need at the time versus what it would really cost. It’s what do I need right now.”

So where are the scratchers finding their business, and what laws are in place to stop them from marking your teen? WIS found there are loopholes that allow a scratcher’s business to thrive.

Kumo said anytime he’s called the police about someone tattooing illegally in a home, he’s told to call DHEC. Then DHEC tells him to call the police. Ultimately, Kumo said nothing is done to enforce the law.

FREE Heart Health Presentation in Sumter November 4th

FREE Heart Health Presentation in Sumter on November 4th.