Feast Your Eyes – How These 6 Summer Superfood Recipes Can Boost Your Eye Health
Increased screen time, missed eye examinations and a diet of comfort food during the pandemic –these six superfood recipes could be the first step in giving eyes the TLC they deserve. Kale, butternut squash, blueberries, apricots and salmon – are five eye boosting, nutrient-rich foods that could form the first line of defence in protecting our eye health, according to Dr Andy Hepworth, leading eye expert from Essilor.co.uk.
Dr Hepworth explains why the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ couldn’t be more true when it comes to our eyes and shares some recipes to help you boost your vision:
“It’s no secret that as a nation we have neglected our eye health over the past 18 months. From an over-reliance on screens and digital devices, to hesitancy to attend eye examinations and an increase in comfort foods and alcohol, now is the right time to think about the wider impact our lifestyle habits could be having not just on our waistlines, but also our eyes.
“Our eyes are vascular and need oxygen from our arteries – a diet that is low in saturated fats is therefore extremely important. So too are certain antioxidants that help to promote good eye health – these include omega-3 fats and beta-carotene; vitamins such as C and E, which reduce the risks of developing AMD, and zinc and cerotenoids. Sources of vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin also promote good eye health.
“A varied and balanced diet is crucial for a healthy lifestyle but if you are looking to add more eye boosting benefits into your meals then kale, butternut squash, blueberries, apricot and salmon are my go-to superfoods and a great place to start.”
Crispy Kale and Sweet Potato Stir Fry:
Kale is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are related to vitamin A and beta carotene, and may help protect eye tissues from sunlight damage and reduce the risk of eye changes related to aging. It also contains vitamin C and beta carotene, other eye-friendly nutrients.
Sweet potato is packed with vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and fibre, similar to carrots they’re great for eye health. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, a nutrient that helps prevent dry eyes and night blindness.
This simple dish not only looks great – it fantastic for feeding healthy eyes!
1 Sweet Potato
2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds
(Optional: add a fried egg and bacon / pancetta)
Cube the sweet potato and cover with a splash of olive oil and season with paprika and salt. Roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes. In the meantime rinse the kale and tear into small pieces removing stems. To the kale add a splash of olive oil, the ground flaxseeds and salt to taste. Mix well. Arrange on a baking try and put in the oven to crisp for about 15-20 minutes. Check to make sure the kale doesn’t burn. When everything is crisp, mix the kale and sweer potato together and serves. Tastes great on its own or with fish such as salmon.
Grilled Apricot and Halloumi Salad:
Apricots are super rich in carotenoids; beta carotene and lycopene both of which help to absorb harmful blue light and near ultraviolet light in order to help protect the retina. They are also an excellent source of vitamin A, C and E. These vitamins help you to maintain good vision, overall eye health and can help protect the lens of your eye by blocking cell-damaging free radicals. One apricot has 13% of your daily value of vitamin A. High vitamin A consumption can help to reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
Salad leaves of your choice – suggest rocket
Handful of pine nuts
For the dressing:
Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Slice the apricots in half and the halloumi into slices. Heat a griddle pan and griddle the apricot and halloumi until it has browned. Set aside. Add a handful of pine nuts to the griddle pan and cook until slightly browned. Add a large handful of salad leaves to a plate and add on the apricot, halloumi and pine seeds. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and add salt to season. Drizzle over the salad and serve.
Green Spinach and Pea Pancakes (crepes, blini) Served With Salmon and Smashed Avocado:
Another recipe with not just one but two eye health superfoods.
Salmon (and tuna) is a great food to consume for eye health. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can contribute to visual development and good health of the retina. Omega-3 can also help prevent dry eye.
Leafy green spinach is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are related to vitamin A and beta carotene, and may help protect eye tissues from sunlight damage and reduce the risk of eye changes related to aging. It also contains vitamin C and beta carotene, other eye-friendly nutrients.
1 Cup Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Baby Leaf Spinach (compressed to fill cup)
1 Cup Frozen Peas
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
Splash of olive oil for frying
1/2 Cup Natural Yogurt
2 Cloves Roasted Garlic Crushed (roast with the skin on for 20 minutes at 160ºC)
10 Mint Leaves
Pinch of Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Juice 1/4 Lime
200g Smoked Salmon
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and de-stoned
For the pancakes: Add the milk, spinach and peas to a blender and blend until smooth, then add in the egg and melted butter for a few more seconds until combined.
Add the flour and baking powder to a large bowl, make a well in the flour and slowly add the pea and spinach mixture whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
Add oil to a frying pan and cook the batter over a medium heat, flip over and cook the other side.
To make the sauce add the yogurt, garlic, chopped mint leaves, pepper, dijon mustard and lime juice to a bowl and stir well.
Place the avocado in a bowl and add the chilli, garlic, lime juice, salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Mash with a fork to the desired consistency. It can be as chunky or smooth as you like.
When you are ready to serve layer on the yoghurt dressing, smoked salmon and top with the smashed avocado.
Poached Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce and Smoked Salmon:
Fish, particularly wild caught salmon and tuna, can be a great food to consume for eye health. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can contribute to visual development and good health of the retina. Omega-3 can also help prevent dry eye.
1 breakfast muffin
2-4 slices of smoked salmon
Juice from a lemon
1 dessert spoon of white wine vinegar
3 egg yolks
150g unsalted butter
First, make the hollandaise sauce. Juice the lemon and add to a bowl with the vinegar. Add the egg yolks and whisk, until light and frothy. Simmer some water in a pan, and place the bowl on top. Whisk until it thickens, then gradually add the butter. Poach the eggs in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Toast the muffin and butter them, then add a couple of slices of salmon on each side of the muffin. Top with an egg and pour over the hollandaise sauce.
Butternut Squash Quesadilla:
Packed with beta carotene, the body converts beta carotene in butternut squash into vitamin A, a nutrient that helps prevent dry eyes and night blindness. Beta carotene and vitamin A also may help reduce the risk eye infections. Other foods that are good sources of beta carotene, include carrots, plus dark green foods including spinach and collard greens. Liver, milk and eggs are other great sources of vitamin A.
1 butternut squash
1⁄2 jalapeno chilli – chopped
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 garlic clove – crushed
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Cube the butternut squash and roast in the oven with a splash of oil and salt and pepper for 50 minutes, or until soft. Heat some of the oil in a large skillet and add the garlic, heat for 1-2 minutes until brown, add the roasted butternut squash, spinach, jalapeno and cumin. Cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally, season accordingly. Spread the filling on one half of each of the tortillas and fold shut. Brush with oil on each side and cook on a hot griddle pan for 3 minutes or until brown.
No-bake Blueberry Cheesecake:
Packed with antioxidants which may help to reduce your risk of cataracts, glaucoma and other eye conditions Blueberries are high in the soluble fibre pectin, which can help lower cholesterol, which helps keep your whole body healthy.
180g digestive biscuit
80g unsalted butter
250g reduced fat soft cheese
200ml reduced fat double cream
1 half lemon – juiced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
160g of blueberries
60g of raspberries (optional)
Grease the bottom and sides of a dish. Crumble the biscuits either in a food processors or in a bag and crush with a rolling pin. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the crushed biscuit. Pour the mixture into the dish and press it flat and smooth. Whisk the cream cheese, double cream, vanilla, lemon juice and half the blueberries until thick. Top the biscuit base with the mixture and finish with the remaining blueberries and raspberries. Refrigerate overnight.