Give the gift of healthy vision this holiday season
Dec. 1, 2015 – Macular degeneration affects more than ten million Americans and is the leading cause of vision loss for those aged 55 and older in the United States – but you can help improve the lives of those already diagnosed and reduce the risk for the next generation in various ways this holiday season.
The holidays are spent with family, friends - and food! This year, make a dish that's not only tasty, but rich in good-for-you nutrients that can help prevent macular degeneration and, in some cases, aid in fighting other health problems. Eat Right For Your Sight: Simple Tasty Recipes That Help Reduce the Risk of Vision Loss from Macular Degenerationby Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Johanna M. Seddon MD (The Experiment, 2015) is a cookbook from the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF) that's full of mouthwatering recipes. The collection is great for year-round use, but also dishes that fit your holiday gathering needs, like the simple and delicious Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberry Salad recipe we've provided below. There are also tips from our nutritional partner, Toby Amidor, MS, RD, whose contact information is below if you'd like to arrange an interview with her.
You can also help those affected by macular degeneration by capturing the giving spirit of the season and consider making an end-of-the-year donation to AMDF. Donations go towards supporting scientific research, educating, engaging, and empowering the public by building awareness of, and knowledge about, this incurable eye disease through online tools and resources, free educational materials, and healthful lifestyle tips, such as the following.
Other foods to include in your holiday repertoire that help prevent macular degeneration include:
Kale chips: Kale is a power food for eye health as it contains vitamins A and C and phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A is vital to eye growth and development while the powerful antioxidant vitamin C helps protect the body against the damage of free radicals which have been shown to contribute to macular degeneration.
Spiced nuts: Add nuts like almonds, walnuts, and peanuts to your holiday spiced nut mixture. Almonds contain the antioxidant vitamin E, while walnuts contain omega-3 fats – both which support healthy eyes. Peanuts also contain zinc, which recent studies suggest may help slow down the progression of macular degeneration.
Guacamole: This wildly popular party dip is brimming with vitamin E, which supports eye health. It also contains lutein, an antioxidant naturally found in the macula (the center of the retina) which needs to be replenished regularly.
Try this recipe from Eat Right For Your Sight: Simple Tasty Recipes That Help Reduce the Risk of Vision Loss from Macular Degeneration:
Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberry Salad Serves 4-6 A good source of carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, and folate, butternut squash is also rich in phytochemicals, which convert into antioxidants, thought not only to help prevent macular degeneration, but also to reduce the risk for certain cancers and cardiovascular problems. This is a pretty salad that offers a colorful change of pace with its roasted squash, goat cheese, pecans, and cranberries.
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into
1/2-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1¼ teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One 5-ounce bag baby greens
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup pecan halves, lightly chopped
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly snipped chives
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the agave nectar, and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake until tender and golden, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing after 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Assemble the baby greens, cranberries, pecans, and goat cheese in a salad bowl. Top with the butternut squash. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, chives, ¼ teaspoon salt, and extra pepper into a vinaigrette and toss with the salad. Serve immediately.
Serving size: 1 cup / Calories: 360 / Protein: 4 g / Fiber: 4 g / Fat: 30 g Saturated fat: 5 g / Sodium: 260 mg / Vitamin A: 10,343 IU / Vitamin C: 6 mg Vitamin D: 3 IU / Vitamin E: 13 IU / Zinc: 1 mg / Beta-carotene: 3,774 μg Lutein and zeaxanthin:5,000 μg
Recipe may be reprinted with the following credit: