Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cheers to your eyes

I came to a wonderful realization when a friend came to visit me recently. We were chatting in my kitchen and she remarked, "AK, you're making eye contact! You are looking into my eyes!"


This time a year ago, I was unable to look anybody in the eye, let alone appreciate the site of food or  anything else in front of me. Nerve damage made it difficult to focus on objects and follow moving objects. Even looking at people's faces as they spoke to me was a painful challenge.  Those days seem like a distant memory. Time and rehabilitation are improving the way I see. The damaged nerves are beginning to heal. 


As my friend Steph and I continued our face-to-face conversation, I studied her face with my eyes. We've seen each other regularly over the last year, but for the first time, I was able to really take in the complexity of her deep grey eyes. During that flash of visual clarity, I was astounded by my dear friend's beautiful face. (Steph, middle age has been very kind to you. I can say that because now I can see you properly.)


I did some research on some eye-healthy foods. Extensive studies in the U.S. found that a diet rich in B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin) may help reduce the risk of cataracts. Riboflavin is found in eggs, mushrooms and almonds. Niacin-rich foods are chicken and turkey breast, wild salmon, kidney beans and natural peanut butter. The American National Eye Institute identifies several key nutrients that help contribute to eye health: beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and omega-3 fats.
  • Beta carotene-rich foods: carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, cantaloupe, apricots and cherries. 
  • Vitamin C-rich foods: bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, oranges, strawberries and kiwis. 
  • Vitamin E-rich foods: wheat germ, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, peanut butter and avocados. 
  • Zinc-rich foods: oysters, ostrich (a very lean meat), turkey, pumpkin seeds and chick peas. 
Here's another interesting find: in a study on rats and tea, rats that were given green and black tea had fewer cataracts than their non tea-drinking counterparts.



Eye-opening smoothie  
Eye-Opening Smoothie
1 orange, zested, then peeled and cut into sections
1/2 medium pink grapefruit, peeled and cut into sections
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup frozen berries
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice



Dump all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. 


Makes 1 large serving (1 3/4 cups). 
Enjoy the blast of eye-healthy nutrients. 

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