Good nutrition and good health go hand in hand. But did you know that a healthy diet can also protect your eyes? It’s true: what we eat can affect how we see!

Why is caring for our eye health some important? As we get older, the risk for certain eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts increases. Many surveys have shown that sight is the most important of the five senses to maintain. Clearly, vision loss is a major concern.

Studies have shown that eating foods that are rich in certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can slow down or even help prevent most eye diseases.

Are you wondering how to get more eye-friendly nutrients in your family’s diet? Keep your eyes on these foods:

Lutein and zeaxanthin: These are found in kale, spinach, Romaine lettuce, collard greens, broccoli and eggs.

Beta-carotene: Found in carrots, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers and cantaloupe.

Vitamin C: Found in oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, Brussel sprouts and green bell peppers.

Vitamin E: Found in sunflower seeds, wheat germ, almonds, hazelnuts and vegetable oils.

Omega 3 fatty acids: Found in salmon, tuna, sardines, herring mackerel and fortified dairy.

Zinc: Found in oysters, red meat, eggs, turkey, wheat germ, black-eyed peas and mixed nuts.

Challenge yourself to add more of these foods to your diet this year to help keep you seeing with 2020 vision well into the future.

Prevention is the key when it comes to eye health, and a lifetime of good sight starts early. Building healthy eating habits in childhood that include eye-friendly foods is a perfect way to start. Here are some ideas to encourage your kids to try something new.

Come up with a list of eye-healthy foods that you would like to add to your family’s meals and ask your child to pick one or two to try. Find a recipe that includes those foods and then involve your child in helping you to prepare the ingredients. Younger children can help scrub produce, mix ingredients and pour liquids while older kids can help with measuring or even cutting different foods up. The more hands-on time that kids get with new foods, the more likely they are to eat them.

Roasted Salmon with Mango Sauce

4 wild Alaskan salmon fillets (fresh or frozen)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Mango Salsa

1 cup mango, cut into ¼ inch cubes

½ red bell pepper, diced into ¼ inch pieces

1 green onion or red onion thinly sliced

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil

Place fish on the cooking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle each fillet with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook in oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until each fillet is brown on top and cooked throughout.

While the salmon is cooking, mix the mango, red bell pepper, onion and cilantro in a medium bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lime zest and lime juice in a small bowl. Pour dressing over salsa and mix to combine. When the salmon is done, spoon ¼ of the salsa over each prepared salmon fillet. Serve with brown rice and a green salad for an extra boost of eye-health nutrients.

Kathy Smith is a Texas A&M AgriLife extension agent.

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