Today is World Sight Day. It’s about raising awareness about the elimination of preventable blindness and vision loss and the full participation of people who are blind or vision impaired in the community which is essentially just like the Tipping ethos of working together so everyone has a fair go!
One way we can all make a difference is by talking about, and reading about, improved eye health and vision outcomes. We know that vision loss or blindness has many causes. It can be:
- Injury/event related (eg stroke)
- Age related
- Diabetes related
To learn more about other common types of vision loss you can visit the Vision Australia website.
Knowing that nutrition can play a part in our overall eye health, regardless of our level of vision, we consulted our resident nutrition expert Alix, who has offered these clever tips:
Whilst there are many nutrients that contribute to the health of our eyes, here are 4 important nutrients that you may or may not have considered:
Vitamin A – commonly referred to as ‘the eye vitamin’. The best food sources are beef liver, carrots, sweet potato, eggs and some dark leafy greens.
Consuming adequate amounts of Vitamin A daily not only maintains the health of your eyes but has been known to prevent impaired vision or blindness caused by degenerative conditions or slow the progression of blindness caused by diabetes.
Omega 3 fatty acids – with the movement of low-fat diets and greater consumption of processed foods, many people don’t recognise the importance of essential fatty acids (EFAs). Without healthy fats, our bodies and brains cannot function optimally.
Foods rich in omega 3s are fish oils, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, spinach and oily fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel or sardines). Omega 3s are essential to the development of vision in infants, may protect against macular degeneration in adults and reduce inflammation in and around the eyes, which can cause impaired vision. They are also essential for people with diabetes as they stabilise blood sugar levels and help fight eye damage.
Vitamin C – most commonly known for preventing colds, this vitamin is crucial for the function of your immune and nervous systems.
It is found in high quantities in darky leafy green vegetables, capsicum, tomatoes, berries and many fruits. Vitamin C is needed to reduce inflammation, repair damaged tissue cells and prevent cataracts in the eye. It also maintains the health of collagen found in the cornea and blood vessels in the retina – which can cause impaired vision if damaged.
Carotenoids – in particular, lutein and zeaxanthin. It is quite commonly known that antioxidants help reduce inflammation in the body, but lutein and zeaxanthin play a much stronger role in eye health.
Dark leafy green vegetables, sprouts, broccoli, carrots and eggs are rich in both lutein and zeaxanthin. They are both found in the macula of the human eye (giving it that slightly yellow colour) and studies have shown that they can reduce the risk of visual impairment caused by diabetes and the development of degenerative eye conditions. They also protect the eye against free radical damage and retina damage caused by blue light from phones, computers and TVs.
Why not try this tasty recipe. Your eyes (and your taste buds) will thank you!
Salmon, kale and capsicum burgers
2 fresh skinless/boneless salmon fillets
½ bunch kale (3-4 large leaves), stems removed and chopped finely
1 red, orange or yellow capsicum, finely diced
½ red onion, finely diced
¾ cup almond meal
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional: a few basil leaves
Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC
Place salmon fillets on a baking paper lined tray and baked for 10-15minutes, or until just cooked through – don’t let it brown or it will become dry when you cook the burgers. For the last 5minutes, add your red onion to the tray to partially cook. Allow to cool.
Once cooled, add your salmon and finely chopped* vegetables to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Now add the remainder of your ingredients and mix well. You may need to break the salmon apart a little with your fork to get it to combine well.
Using your hands, separate the mixture into even sizes and shape into a burger. You could them as big or small as you like. Make sure you press firmly to pack the mixture together.
Heat a pan on low with some butter or oil. Once hot, add your burgers and cook for 7-10mintues on each side on low heat, or until brown on each side and cooked through.
Serve with your favourite side salad or in a burger bun or wrap
*Note: the smaller the vegetables are chopped, the easier they will cook and it’s more likely your burgers won’t fall apart