You must meet a very important M.D. I have been reading about and cooking for lately. I introduce you with reservation, though, as this M.D. isn’t an M.D. I hope you ever actually meet and, in fact, I hope the information here will help you avoid crossing paths entirely. You see, the M.D. I am referring to isn’t my friendly, family doctor, but this MD is the acronym for macular degeneration – an incurable eye disease that is the leading cause of vision loss for older U.S. adults. It is something no one wants to encounter, so let me tell you about some easy ways to avoid its destructive path.
WHAT MACULAR DEGENERATION IS AND HOW TO AVOID IT
Here are a few facts regarding this sight-robbing disease and what you can do to stop it:
1. It can affect our ability to recognize a familiar face.
Macular degeneration (MD) involves a breakdown or injury to the macula or the central and most sensitive part of the retina located at the back of the eye. The macula gives us clear vision and damage to it results in the complete loss of central vision, which allows us to drive, read, and even recognize faces.
2. It can strike at any age.
But MD is mostly associated with aging.
3. It affects two types of vision.
While MD affects both distance and close-up vision, it does not attack our peripheral vision, thus, it does not cause complete blindness.
4. There are two kinds.
There are two basic types of MD: dry and wet with most cases being of the dry variety with a more gradual vision loss.
5. Here’s another reason to toss the cigarettes.
Research shows that smoking doubles the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Other risk factors include family history and being Caucasian.
6. The disease typically begins symptom-free.
Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect it illustrating the importance of regular eye exams even if you are not experiencing vision issues.
7. You can chew your way to better eye health.
Eating foods with particular nutrients for eye health like greens, sweet potatoes, oranges, almonds, and avocados may delay the onset and progression of age-related macular degeneration. Particular antioxidants are found in the macula and need to be refortified regularly with them to keep the eye healthy.
8. Some fats are good.
Certain fats like omega 3s are crucial to eye health as well as other parts of our body. I wrote here about the magical effects of omega 3sfor your health and how to incorporate them into your diet.
9. There is lots of help!
EAT THE RIGHT WAY FOR BEST EYESIGHT
I wrote about taking care of your peeps here that you must check out as it covers the best type of sunglasses to buy to protect your vision, how and why to get an eye exam even if you see perfectly, and contact lens care, etc. I even wrote a bit about what to eat to keep that vision strong. But, today, I’d like to expand on that very impotent aspect of eye health — the food on your plate. I was recently asked to review the just-released Eat Right For Your Sight for a book review. Here is a bit about the book and those who created it:
- This book, written by James Beard-nominated author, Jennifer Trainer Thompson, and leading expert on macular degeneration, Johanna M. Seddon, MD, fully explores all the healthy food options and provides simple, appealing recipes that any family would like to see at their dinner table. All the work to keep your eyes in tip-top-shape is there with ideas for every meal.
- The book points to recent research that a healthy diet rich in antioxidants like luetin and zeaxanthin and certain fats can delay the onset or progression of macular degeneration. Charts that lay out which foods are best and why is in the book.
- There are recipes from wonderful well-known chefs like Jacques Pepin, Alice Waters, Ina Garten, and Andrew Weil, M.D. All nutritional information for each recipe is included as well.
- There are lots of delicious recipes to try but check out one of my favorites below that I knew my family would greet with a smile. Maybe it will be a favorite for you and yours as well.
HEALTHY RECIPE: SPICY UDON NOODLES FROM EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR SIGHT
A hit with guests at the Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas, this dish has just enough heat to get your attention. This mosaic of multicolored vegetables — good for cancer prevention, heart health, and eye health — is doused with a pungent sauce before being tossed with fresh herbs.
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Asian chili paste
- 1.5 tablespoons sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1.5 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1.5 tablespoons minced ginger
- 6 cups cut raw stir-fry vegetables (broccoli, bok choy, zucchini, onion, scallion, red bell peppers, carrots)
- 3 cups cooked udon noodles (9 ounces dry)
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil leaves
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped mint leaves
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts, for garnish
Combine the orange zest and juice, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, chili paste, sugar, and vinegar in a bowl; set it aside. Combine the sesame oil and canola oil in a small bowl.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil mixture in a skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until they begin to color, about 2 minutes. Add the mixed vegetables and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 1-2 minutes. Add the noodles and reserved sauce. Cook for 1 minute. Add the basil, mint, and cilantro; toss to mix. Serve hot; garnish with the peanuts.
My notes: This was so flavorful! There are lots of ingredients but it comes together quickly. I used fresh udon noodles that I can get locally. I substituted organic avocado oil for the canola oil as it is a great oil to use for high heat cooking as the smoke point is high. (See more information on smoke points and the importance of them in cooking here.) I also used date sugar for regular sugar and for my 6 cups of vegetables, I used fresh spinach, broccoli, scallions, red onion, zucchini, and red and orange bell pepper.
For more easy, delicious eye-healthy recipes, tap here. Tell me, do you know anyone with MD and have a story or tips to share?
- Lots more healthy vegetable recipes to impress your guests all for you here.
- Loads of other healthy ways to prepare vegetables: my healthy vegetables Pinterest board.