Recipes For Healthy Eyes
On this page: Infused water • Tropical post-run smoothie • Chicken chopped salad • Pumpkin mousse • Niagara springtime soup sippers • Turkey burgers with roasted orange peppers • Sunset gazpacho • Deli-style kale salad • Orange pepper, spinach and sundried tomato frittata • Roasted salmon with melon salsa
The next time you visit your eye doctor, don't be surprised if you leave with a prescription for a grocery cart full of kale, orange peppers and wild salmon.
These and many other foods contain high amounts of nutrients that are important for the health and function of your eyes.
Stay Hydrated For Healthy Eyes
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is important for several reasons including eye health. Dehydration can lead to dry eyes, red eyes and puffy eyelids.
Infusing water with cucumber and mint makes a refreshing, eye-healthy beverage. And there are lots of other fruits and vegetables you can try!
Follow these simple steps to create delicious and refreshing infused water for the whole family. These drinks are especially great during hot summer days and are a healthy alternative to soda.
Eye-Healthy Infused Water
- Choose a glass pitcher or jar.
- Add a handful of chopped herbs from the list below.
- Choose one or two fruits and veggies from the list below. Slice and add to the pitcher.
- Fill the container with filtered water and let it sit in the fridge for two hours so the flavors can infuse into the water.
Herbs and spices: Mint, basil, rosemary, ginger.
Fruits and vegetables: Cucumber, fennel, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, lemons, limes, oranges, kiwi, peaches, watermelon, mango.
Dr. Laurie Capogna's favorite combinations: cucumber and mint; strawberry and basil; peach, kiwi and basil.
Tips: The water will last for up to three days; however, the fruit and veggies may get water-logged within a day. If you haven't finished it all in 24 hours, then strain the produce out.
Recommended For You
Exercise, Then Drink This!
This refreshing treat is packed with lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin C.
In addition to feeding your eyes, the coconut water will replenish your body with much-needed electrolytes after a summer run or workout.
Tropical Post-Run Smoothie (serves 4)
3/4 cup frozen mango
1/4 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup spinach / kale
1 cup coconut water
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend and enjoy!
This eye-catching salad makes a great addition to any outdoor lunch! Loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc it will feed your eyes as well as your vision. Prepare it in a flash by using leftover chicken from your weekend barbeque.
Chicken Chopped Salad (serves 1 as a main dish)
1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped in bite-size pieces
1 cup baby spinach
1 cooked chicken breast, sliced diagonally
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 orange pepper, diced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 orange, peeled then chopped
1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 garlic clove, minced
juice from remaining half of orange
salt and pepper
Arrange ingredients on a plate or in a bowl. In a separate container, combine all dressing ingredients and stir until well-mixed. Drizzle dressing over top and serve.
Pumpkin for Your Peepers
This fall, trade your traditional pumpkin pie for this lighter dessert. Filled with beta-carotene, it will nourish your eyes and satisfy your sweet tooth.
Pumpkin Mousse (serves 4)
1 cup pumpkin puree from can (240g)
1/2 cup plain 0% or 2% fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 envelope gelatin
1/4 cup whipping cream, very cold
zest of one orange
1/2 tsp mixed spice (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger)
- Put medium bowl in freezer.
- In a large bowl, mix pumpkin and yogurt, using a whisk.
- Sprinkle gelatin on orange juice and let sit for about three minutes, just enough time to get maple syrup ready.
- Bring maple syrup to a boil on medium-high heat in a small sauce pan, stirring constantly.
- Pour boiling maple syrup over orange juice and stir until gelatin has melted.
- Pour maple syrup mix into pumpkin preparation and mix well, using a whisk.
- Add orange zest and spices; stir to combine.
- In chilled bowl, whip cream to firm peaks, using a hand mixer.
- Use your mixer to whip pumpkin mix for about one minute.
- Fold whipped cream gently into pumpkin mix, using a spatula.
- Ladle into serving cups and chill in the refrigerator for two to three hours, until set.
Green Eye Goodness in a Cup
Chilled soup sipper or juice? This versatile recipe by chef Anna Olson can work both ways.
The green peas are full of vitamin C, with a significant amount of vitamin A as well. The apples and leafy greens contain other important nutrients for eyes. The mint is a good source of several antioxidants. And the Greek yogurt offers a beneficial dose of protein.
Niagara Springtime Soup Sippers (makes about 6 cups)
1 English cucumber
2 Granny Smith apples
1 lime, peeled
4 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
4 cups loosely packed baby kale
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen peas
2/3 cup loosely packed mint leaves
1-1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
honey, to taste
lightly toasted sliced almonds, as garnish
- Wash all of the vegetables and fruits thoroughly. Cut the cucumber and apple into large pieces.
- Push all of the ingredients except the yogurt, honey and almonds through a juicer.
- Whisk the juice into the Greek yogurt and add the honey to taste.
- Pour into bowl or little glasses for sipping, and top with the toasted almonds.
Turkey Is Terrific for Eyes
These healthy turkey burgers will turn your weekend barbeque into an eye-healthy feast! Turkey is high in zinc, and the orange peppers and green onion will provide your eyes with lutein and zeaxanthin.
For a lighter version, omit the whole-wheat buns and enjoy your turkey burger wrapped in lettuce leaves.
Turkey Burgers with Roasted Orange Peppers (serves 4)
1 lb ground turkey (extra-lean)
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs or oat bran
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper
2 orange peppers
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard (grainy)
4 whole-wheat burger buns
Caramelized Onions (optional):
2 yellow onions
- Mix all ingredients for the burgers. Shape into four patties. Place each patty on a square of parchment paper, and set aside in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the grill to high. Put the peppers on the grill, turning until charred on all sides. Remove them from the grill and place in a paper bag. Close the bag tightly and let cool for about 10 minutes. The steam will help separate the skin from the peppers so they are easier to peel.
- Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, and working over a bowl to collect the juices, peel the peppers. Cut in wedges and remove the stems, seeds and white membranes.
- Set aside roasted pepper wedges. Mix 1 tablespoon pepper juice (that you collected while peeling the peppers) with 3 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard.
- Holding onto the parchment paper, flip turkey patties on the grill and cook on each side, until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees (as recommended by the FDA).
- When patties are almost ready, toast outside of burger buns on the grill.
- To assemble burger, spread the mustard mix on both sides of the buns. Add roasted pepper wedges. Layer the patty next. Top with leaf lettuce.
- Optional: Prepare caramelized onions ahead of time: Cook thinly sliced yellow onions over low heat in olive oil for about 20 minutes, or until very tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Enjoy with coleslaw enriched with kale.
Orange: The Eye-Friendly Color
Load up on lutein and zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and vitamin E with this refreshing cold soup made of our favorite orange vegetables. Perfect for a cocktail party.
The soup also contains Vidalia onions, which are rich in vitamin C. Despite the egg garnish, this recipe contains very little fat or cholesterol, and it's so flavorful that you probably won't want to add much salt. The recipe is by Anna Olson.
Sunset Gazpacho (makes about 6 cups)
2 orange peppers, stems and seeds removed
2 lbs orange tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 small Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh carrot juice
1 garlic clove
3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
salt and pepper
finely grated hardboiled egg, for garnish
- Puree the peppers, tomatoes, onion and carrot juice in a blender until smooth.
- Add the sherry vinegar, and while blending, drizzle in the olive oil.
- Season to taste, and chill until ready to serve.
- To serve, pour the soup into dishes and top with the grated egg.
Green Means "Go" When It Comes to Eye Health
Green vegetables, especially leafy greens such as kale, spinach and collard greens, contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. These pigments are powerful antioxidants that protect the retina from the damaging effects of UV rays and blue light.
Leafy greens also contain a lot of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and fiber. These additional nutrients help prevent the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Kale is the superstar of leafy green vegetables and is the feature of this eye-healthy recipe. This salad was inspired by the popular coleslaws that are served in delicatessens everywhere.
Deli-Style Kale Salad (serves 4)
4 cups raw kale, thoroughly washed and dried
1/4 cup chopped dried figs or dried apricots
4 green onions, finely sliced
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/4 cup roasted soybeans
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 tsp vinegar (apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or rice vinegar)
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
salt and pepper
- Remove ribs from kale leaves.
- Roughly chop kale into bite-sized pieces (1-2 inches) and place into a large salad bowl.
- Toss together all ingredients of the salad except the roasted soybeans.
- In a small bowl, mix together all dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss.
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
- Sprinkle with roasted soybeans and enjoy.
Eat Your Orange Peppers
Parents, tell your children to eat orange peppers for their eye health! This versatile vegetable is a great source of zeaxanthin a protective carotenoid that is concentrated in the macula of the eye. Orange peppers also are a great source of vitamin C, lutein, vitamin E and beta-carotene.
The eggs in this tasty frittata recipe are also an eye-healthy food, as they are a good source of lutein, vitamin E and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.
Orange Pepper, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Frittata (serves 2)
3 eggs (preferably omega-3 fortified)
1 Tbsp milk (1% or skim)
1/2 cup diced orange peppers
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup frozen spinach (chopped)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp parsley
salt and pepper
- Whisk together eggs, milk, parsley, salt and pepper and set aside.
- Saute pepper and sundried tomatoes in 1 tablespoon olive oil for 1 minute over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan.
- Add frozen spinach and continue cooking until spinach has thawed and cooked.
- Reduce heat to low and add egg mixture, ensuring that vegetables and eggs are evenly distributed in the pan.
- Cook on low heat until top of frittata begins to cook, approximately 5 minutes. Make sure the bottom does not burn. Flip frittata by placing a plate over top of pan, flip the pan and slide frittata back into pan. Cook on low for another 1-2 minutes. Alternatively, place ovenproof pan in oven and broil on low for 3 minutes or until top of frittata is cooked.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
The frittata can also be enjoyed at room temperature or even cold the next day.
Eating fish is important to the health of your eyes because fish contain the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. In the eye, DHA and EPA have an important role in vision and help decrease inflammation. Researchers have found that eating cold-water fish has protective effects against age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and dry eye syndrome.
The most effective way to get DHA and EPA into your diet is to eat cold-water fish that are high in these omega-3 fatty acids and also low in contaminants. Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, rainbow trout, and mackerel are all excellent choices.
This delicious salmon dish makes a great weeknight dinner. Its vibrant, bright presentation also makes it a hit at dinner parties. If you are dining outdoors, don't forget to wear your sunglasses!
P.S. Not a big fan of cantaloupe? Use peaches or papaya in this recipe instead!
Roasted Salmon with Melon Salsa (serves 4)
4 wild Alaskan salmon fillets (frozen or fresh)
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup cantaloupe (cut into 1/4-inch cubes)
1/2 red pepper (cut in 1/4-inch cubes)
1 green onion, chopped finely
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven broiler to 400 degrees (or maximum).
- Line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place fish fillets on the cooking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on each fillet.
- Place in oven for 5-10 minutes, or until brown on the top and cooked throughout.
While the salmon is cooking, prepare the salsa:
- Mix together gently the cantaloupe, green onion, red pepper and cilantro. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime zest and lime juice.
- Poor dressing over salsa and mix to combine.
When salmon is ready, place one fillet on each plate and spoon one quarter of the salsa on top. Serve with a green salad and brown rice.
Optometrists Dr. Laurie Capogna and Dr. Barbara Pelletier have co-authored books on eye nutrition, which you can order at www.eyefoods.com.
Eyefoods: A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes is a guide to improving eye health and preventing, suppressing and slowing common eye disorders through healthy eating. The book outlines which foods offer the most nutrients for your eyes and includes tips, meal ideas and recipes.
Eyefoods for Kids: A Tasty Guide to Nutrition and Eye Health explains to kids how the eyes work and what the various nutrients are in eye-healthy foods. It also offers delicious recipes that children can make for themselves.
Celebrity chef Anna Olson is the host of Food Network Canada's "Bake with Anna Olson." Her Niagara Springtime Soup Sipper and Sunset Gazpacho recipes were developed specifically for an event with the Eyefoods authors. Visit www.annaolson.ca for more information and recipes.
Oily fish consumption, dietary docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid intakes, and associations with neovascular age-related macular degeneration. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. August 2008.
Associations between lutein, zeaxanthin, and age-related macular degeneration: An overview. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. April 2009.
Associations between intermediate AMD and lutein and zeaxanthin in CAREDS. Archives of Ophthalmology. August 2006.
Progression of age-related macular degeneration: association with dietary fat, transunsaturated fat, nuts and fish intake. Archives of Ophthalmology. December 2003.
[Page updated July 2016]