By : Apeksha Thakkar Clinical Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Nutrigenomic Counselor
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Eat the Rainbow for that Healthy Eyes

We all are aware how nutrition is essential for human health and eyes are no exception. What you eat will definitely affect how you see!

 

 

The most common vision problems include cataracts—clouding in the lens of the eye, age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—which causes vision loss in the macula, the part of the eye that controls central vision, glaucoma - damage to the eyes optic nerves, and dryness of the eyes, all of which can further deteriorate to irreversible blindness.

 

Certain nutrients present in your food are vital in preventing these diseases and maintaining the health of your eyes.

 

Nutrients and Eye Health

A variety of different antioxidants present in food keeps the eyes healthy which includes 

 

Lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene are carotenoid pigments that act as strong antioxidants, a natural protector of the eye from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sunlight.

Anthocyanin gives fruits and vegetables red, purple, and blue colors. They are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown to improve vision and increase blood supply to the retina.

Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant to promote healthy vision and protects the eyes against infections and helps reduce night vision problems. Several studies have provided evidence that those who consumed increased amounts of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A have a decreased risk of AMD.

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, protects the eye from UV (ultraviolet light) induced damage, and prevents the weakening of the eye muscles.

Alpha-tocopherol, one of the forms of vitamin E, is present in abundance in the retinal tissue and an increased intake of vitamin E is beneficial for fighting the progression of AMD.

Zinc is found in the retinal tissues, which is the reason that zinc supplementation helps to protect the retina.

 

Therefore, it is universally recommended to follow a rainbow-colored diet, i.e. a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits that nature has color-coded for us.

 

Shall We Eat the Rainbow?

 

Red

 

Red fruits and vegetables contain vitamin A and C and phytochemicals including lycopene which are very important to maintain eye health. 

For example, tomatoes contain two eye-healthy nutrients -- lycopene and lutein whereas beets are a great source of lutein helpful for vision.

 

Orange and Yellow

 

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are packed with Vitamin A and C which protects the blood vessels in the eyes

 

Green

 

Green coloured fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables are rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, and vitamin K, vital for healthy vision.

For example, Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins like A, K, E, Zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene that help to combat eye diseases.

 

Blue and Purple

 

Blue and purple foods are rich sources of natural flavonoids called anthocyanin which are powerful antioxidants that prevent inflammation in the eyes.

 

White and Brown

 

These plants contain compounds like Allicin and tannins which are anti-inflammatories and protect the eyes from infection.

 

Reach for the rainbow

 

Here are some ways to make it happen:

 

Bring variety in your meal. Add chopped fruits to cereals, vegetables stuffed in parathas, egg or paneer scramble filled with colourful veggies.

Enjoy a bowl of fresh and colourful salads with loads of fruits and veggies.

Experiment with new dishes, using locally available vegetables and fruits

Opt for a fruit or fruits for dessert

Make a rainbow meal with every colour on the plate, the kids would love it.

 

The Takeaway 

Building and maintaining a healthy vision does not happen overnight and without effort, so working on improving lifestyle and diet can go a long way toward preserving, or even improving, the health of your eyes.

 

Eating a rainbow of different colored fruits and vegetables provides nutrients like antioxidants, phytochemicals which help in preventing serious eye conditions and keeps your vision healthy. 

 

Recipe for total nutrition 

 

Colourful Veg Wrap (serves 2)

A delicious way to eat roti’s using vegetables of your choice!


 

Ingredients

2 -3 whole wheat rotis or tortillas

1 tbsp., Olive Oil

1 Onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp garlic paste

½ cup red bell pepper, sliced

½ cup yellow bell pepper, sliced

½ cup sweet corn, boiled

1 medium-sized carrot, julienned

½ cup deseeded and chopped tomato 

½ cup blanched and chopped spinach leaves, as desired

Iceberg lettuce leaves, a few 

1 tbsp. cheese, grated

1 tbsp. pizza seasoning 

1 tsp red chili flakes

¼ cup beaten hung curd or mayonnaise

1 tsp crushed black pepper

2 tbsp. tomato ketchup

Salt, to taste

 

Method

1. Heat oil in a pan, and add the onions and crushed garlic. Sauté for a few minutes.

2. Add the bell peppers, carrots, and corn and cook on high flame. Keep the vegetables crunchy and not overcook them.

3. Add the tomatoes and sauté.

4. Then add the seasoning and ketchup and mix well. Just a minute before taking it off the flame, add the blanched spinach and stir well.

5. Transfer the mixture in a bowl and allow it to cool.

 

To make the Wrap

6. For the wraps, on a skillet heat the roti’s, applying oil on both sides. Take it off the flame.

7. Keep the roti’s on a flat surface and spread mayonnaise or hung curd over the rotis.

8. Place the lettuce leaves and spread the veg filling in the middle of the roti. Top it with grated cheese. Repeat with the rest of the rotis.

9. Wrap the roti’s and serve.

 

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Energy 

105 kcal

Carbohydrates

17.7 gm

Protein

2.9 gm

Fat

2.3  gm

Fiber

3.6  gm

 

 

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