Both cooked and raw green leafy vegetables have many nutrients to keep the eye healthy. The important eye nutrients we get from these vegetables are lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, and fibre.1
With cooked leafy greens, the body absorbs more lutein and zeaxanthin. While with raw leafy greens, the body absorbs more Vitamin C. The top green leafy vegetables for the eye include kale, spinach, and dandelion greens. Others include: romaine lettuce, radicchio, leaf lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, rapini (broccoli rabe), collard greens.1
KALE: The number one green leafy vegetable for keeping the eye healthy! One medium leaf of raw kale per day, is enough to meet the daily nutrient requirement of both lutein and zeaxanthin.1 Kale can be tossed raw in salads, and can be baked into kale chips.
SPINACH: Both spinach and baby spinach are growing to be very popular in many of our diets. It is easy to add this vegetable to dinners most evenings (as part of a salad, or side dish), and to power smoothies in the mornings.
DANDELION GREENS: These are commonly served as a cooked side dish in Mediterranean cultures.1 They can be eaten cooked or raw. They make an excellent addition when a handful is added raw to a salad with romaine lettuce.1
It’s recommended to add 1 cup or handful of raw leafy greens to your meals 7 times per week, and ½ cup of cooked leafy greens twice per week.1For people on blood thinners, they must be cautious of their intake because too much of this vegetable can reduce the efficacy of their blood thinner medication. Any changes to your diet should first be discussed with your family physician, especially if you are taking any medications.
MENU TIP: Dr. Viswanathan recommends trying swiss chard sautéed with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper – this makes for a great side dish to many of her weekday dinners!
For more information on your eye health and our recommendations, schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists. Call Perception Eyecare at 289 309-1090 to schedule an appointment.
1.Capogna, L., & Pelletier, B. (2011). Eyefoods: a food plan for healthy eyes. Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON: LB Media Concepts.