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Carol’s Nutrition Nuggets: Eye on nutrition

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By Carol Berg Sloan RD, Nutrition Columnist

Eating with your eyes is key when presented with an alluring entrée, but more important is eating for your eyes! Key nutrients to keep eyes healthy include the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamins A, E and C, selenium and zinc. Eating a balanced variety of foods will provide these nutrients, however we don’t eat what we should each and every day.
To ensure optimal overall eye health, eat the following often: dark green veggies such as kale, collards and broccoli as well as orange/ yellow plant foods such as tangerines, persimmons and red pepper. By eating high-protein foods such as beef, pork, lamb, peanuts, peanut butter and legumes, you will assure an adequate intake of zinc, which assists in immune function.
Vitamin A, which promotes good vision, especially in dim light, can be found in animal sources such as eggs, dairy products and liver. The precursor form of vitamin A, beta carotene, which the body will convert as needed, is found in plants. Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, apricots, broccoli, spinach and most dark green, leafy vegetables are all excellent sources of beta carotene.
Vitamin C, needed for maintenance of normal connective tissue can be found in oranges, cantaloupe, peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes. Selenium sources include Brazil nuts, yeast and seafood. These foods will assist with proper enzyme reactions. Bottom line: eat plenty of fruits and vegetables daily (at least 5 servings) and your eyes will thank you. If you have any specific eye disease, you should discuss diet with your physician or registered dietitian.
Sloan is a registered dietitian in the Long Beach area.

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Carol’s Nutrition Nuggets: Eye on nutrition