Tag - macular degeneration

Eye Health and Nutrition

  In regards to eye health, you have probably heard “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes!” from mom several times throughout childhood. There are several foods that contain vitamins and nutrients essential for eye health. Protect your peepers by consuming more of the following. . . Brightly colored Fruits and Vegetables - Yes, carrots are on the list of top foods for eye health. So are bell peppers, strawberries, pumpkin, corn and canteloupe and other yellow, orange and red fruit and veggies. Carotenoids are the compounds responsible for this bright coloring and help decrease the risk of many eye diseases. The Vitamin C found in many of these fruits and vegetables also lowers your risk of developing cataracts. Mom was right! Carrots and other foods which contain Vitamin A or retinol help your body to synthesize a pigment in your eyes that operates in low light conditions called rhodopsin. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness. Fish - Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which offer protection against dry eyes, macular degeneration and cataracts. Tuna, Salmon, anchovies and trout have high levels of a type of omega 3 called DHA, a fatty acid esential for the health of the retinas but one that our bodies don’t make efficiently. We need to replenish DHA with food rich in this nutrient.  Low levels of DHA are linked to dry eye syndrome. Nuts - Pistachios, walnuts, almonds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and also offer healthy doses of vitamin E for eye health. Vitamin E helps protect membranes of cells throughout the body against free radicals, including parts of the eye. Cataracts may be formed due to oxidation in the lens of the eye and Vitamin E offers preventative help. Leafy Greens - Spinach, kale, collard greens and seaweed are rich in luteins, nicknamed the “eye vitamin” as it is incredibly important for eye health. When we consume foods rich in lutein it is deposited in high quantities in the retina. It helps to fight free radical damage caused by exposure to sunlight, reduces eye fatigue and light sensitivity, protects against the development of cataracts. and halts the growth of cancerous cells. Lutein can also be found in those brightly colored fruits and veggies mentioned above! Eggs - Another great source of both lutein and Vitamin A to protect against night blindness, dry eyes and general eye health and function. Legumes - Kidney beans, black-eyed peas and lentils are good sources of zinc which assists the body in absorption of Vitamin A and reduce one’s risk of macular degeneration.
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Whole Food Spotlight – Cranberries

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” - Virginia Woolf

It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. After all, good health begins with good nutrition! This week we're looking forward to the holidays ahead and cranberries on our table!

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-2-11-38-pm Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines common to Canada and the northern United States thanks to the receding glaciers of the Ice Age which carved out bogs perfect for their growth. Native Americans of the region used cranberries as wound medicine, as a dye and of course as a source of food, including pemmican. Algonquin peoples called the red berries Sassamanash and it’s thought they may have introduced the starving English settlers of Massachusetts to the berry. Sometimes called “bearberries” as bears feast on them regularly, it was the early English and European settlers who began calling them “craneberries” as they thought the expanding flower, stem, calyx and petals of the plant looked like the neck, head and bill of a crane. The word then morphed into cranberry. Cranberries most widely believed benefit is in the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections. However, don’t reach for the juice as studies are showing that cranberry capsules may be more effective. That beautiful ruby red color of the cranberry comes from anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are a class of naturally occurring pigments in plants responsible for rich reds and purples in berries, eggplant, blood oranges and cranberries. A number of studies suggest that anthocyanins help improve sharpness of vision, reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration and that they may also be beneficial in fighting cancer, diabetes and some neurological diseases. Interestingly enough, it is the way cranberries are harvested that gives them such great concentrations of anthocyanins. According to “The World’s Healthiest Foods”, Many cranberries are water-harvested. Water-harvesting means that the cranberries are grown in bogs and floated in water to allow for easy harvesting. For many years, water-harvesting of cranberries has been looked upon as an industry convenience. It's simply easier to harvest berries that are floating on the surface. However, recent research has shown that the anthocyanin content of cranberries (the phytonutrients that give the berries their amazing red color) is increased in direct proportion to the amount of natural sunlight striking the berry. If berries floating on top of water get exposed to increased amounts of natural sunlight (in comparison to other growing and harvesting conditions), they are likely to develop greater concentrations of anthocyanins. These greater concentrations of anthocyanins are likely to provide us with stronger health benefits. In other words, water-harvesting may turn out to provide more than just harvest convenience. If it can expose cranberries to greater amounts of natural sunlight, it can increase phytonutrient health benefits that involve the unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of anthocyanins. Unfortunately, fresh cranberries are a fruit with a short season. They are harvested between Labor Day and Halloween, appearing at the market from October through December. Fortunately, cranberries freeze well and can be kept for several years. To freeze them, spread them out on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Wait a couple of hours and then transfer the frozen berries to a freezer bag. They will be soft once thawed and should be used immediately. To select quality cranberries, look for ones that are deep red in color, plump and firm to the touch. Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta Holiday Cranberry Sauce
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