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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.

“D2 & Me:” A Diabetes Support and Wellness Group

Lexington Medical Center has begun to host a new diabetes support and wellness group called “D2 & Me” for type 2 diabetes patients and their caregivers. The meetings, which are open to the public, will feature guest speakers, exercises, healthy cooking demonstrations and tastings, recipe exchanges and dinners at local restaurants.
doctor and patient13
Classes take place on the Lexington Medical Center hospital campus, the hospital’s community medical center in Lexington, and off site for special events. Clinicians and experts who have special training in caring for people who have diabetes lead the classes and meetings.

Here is the calendar of meetings for 2014:

Wednesday, September 17 – Meal Planning (includes carb counting)
Laura Stepp, MA, RD/LD, CDE
Lexington Medical Center Lexington
811 West Main Street, Lexington
First floor conference room
5:45 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Free and open to public

Wednesday, October 15 – Meal Planning – Part 2
Laura Stepp, MA, RD/LD, CDE
Lexington Medical Center Lexington
811 West Main Street, Lexington
First floor conference room
5:45 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Free and open to public

Thursday, November 13 – Holiday Recipe Makeovers
6:30pm – 8:30 pm
Lere Robinson
Columbia’s Cooking
915 Greene Street, Suite 200
Columbia
colacook@mailbox.sc.edu
803-576-5636
$35/class or $25/students/military/senior
Attendees must sign up online or call to register

December 9 & 17 – Diabetic-Friendly Holidays
Laura Stepp, MA, RD/LD, CDE
December 9th class will be in the Lexington Medical Center hospital campus inside Lower Level Classroom 3 from 5:45 – 6:45 p.m.
December 17th class will be at Lexington Medical Center’s community medical center at 811 West Main Street in Lexington inside the first floor conference room from 5:45 – 6:45 p.m.
Free and open to public

diabetes1LMC employee Natalie Copeland started the group in June. It was something she wanted to do after she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

“Diabetes, regardless of type, is a prevalent disease nationwide that affects more than 29 million Americans. I figured there were a lot a people in this area affected by this disease, especially since obesity plays a big part in type 2 diabetes and obesity is a Lexington County community need that wasn’t being addressed,” Copeland said. “I am fortunate that I have been able to control my diabetes with diet and exercise. I want us to be able to control our diabetes so that it doesn’t control us.”

Since June, D2 & Me has provided people with type 2 diabetes a forum to talk about their disease and learn how to care for themselves. For more information on upcoming meetings, visit Facebook.com/D2andMe or www.LexMed.com.

Reap the Benefits of Family Mealtime

By Jennifer Benedetto MS, RD, LC CNSC
Clinical Dietitian at LMC

Along with the start of the school year, come homework and extra curricular activities. Helping your child with nightly assignments and carting them to their next practice leave little time for actually preparing and eating an evening meal together. But the benefits of family mealtimes are well known.

Family eatingBesides being a great opportunity to provide a healthy, well-balanced meal, family dinners improve adolescent well being by decreasing the incidence of disordered eating. Family meals also decrease the chance that your child will become overweight. Children and adolescents who partake in a family meal have less depressive symptoms, greater academic achievement and more positive family interactions. The most positive benefits are seen when 3 or more meals are eaten together. But with a busy schedule, how is this feasible?

Keep it simple. Family meals need not be complicated. Forgo recipes with long lists of ingredients and stick to basic staples. A favorite in my house is “taco” night using lots of fresh veggies, grilled chicken, black beans and cheese made with 2% milk.
Double up. When preparing meat, rice or pasta, cook double. Grilled chicken breasts can be used for salads, pasta or stir fries, so load up the grill. Browned ground turkey can also go the extra mile in tacos, burritos, or casseroles. Pasta can be served warm with sauce or cold as a pasta salad.
Prep ahead. Use the weekend to wash and prepare vegetables for weekday meals. Seeing the brightly colored vegetables in your refrigerator will encourage you to grab them and go. Serve them raw, stir fried, sautéed or grilled. Your family will love the fresh flavor!
Enlist help. Children that assist with menu planning are more likely to eat what is served. When it comes to meal preparation, have everyone strap on their aprons and pitch in by doing age appropriate activities. Young children can assist with washing vegetables. Elementary age children can set the table or stir sauces or stews.
Shop early in the week and avoid multiple trips. Organize the week’s menu early and make a shopping list. Keep staples like brown rice and whole wheat pasta on hand. Last minute trips to the grocery store are wasteful and time consuming.

With teamwork and advanced planning, your family can soon reap the benefits of shared meals!

    Sources

: thefamilydinnerproject.org; “Do family meals make a difference?” by Eliza Cook and Rachel Dunifon of Cornell University