You’ve probably heard that leafy greens are good for your health. But the hard part is actually eating them. How can you eat more of them?
In this post, we’ll look at the eye health benefits of dark leafy green vegetables and share with you tips on how to eat more of them even if you’re not used to their taste.
Let’s start with why you should eat leafy greens.
Why Are Leafy Greens So Good for Your Eyes?
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens constantly rank among the best foods for eye health. They are rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, powerful antioxidants that protect your eyes from free radicals and common eye diseases leading to vision loss, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
A 2018 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that a high intake of nitrates from leafy greens leads to a lower incidence of AMD. The American Optometric Association too notes that lutein vegetables such as dark leafy greens may reduce the risk of chronic eye disease.
At the same time, leafy greens are an important source of vitamins C, A, and E, which your eyes need to work well.
The best leafy green vegetables for the eyes include:
- Collard greens
- Rocket, including arugula and rucola
How to Eat More Leafy Green Vegetables
Are you in the habit of looking suspiciously at the leafy greens on your plate?
There are many ways to add leafy greens to your everyday meals while actually enjoying them. It’s all about how you cook them or what you mix them with.
Discover now six delicious ways to eat more leafy green vegetables good for the eyes. Included are some simple and addictive leafy green recipes.
1. Blend Leafy Greens into a Smoothie
One of the easiest ways to get your daily dose of leafy greens is to incorporate them into smoothies. Baby spinach, frozen spinach, and kale will turn your fruit smoothie to a delicious green. But you can also blend in with fruits and vegetables just about any other leafy greens.
Some of the fruits and other smoothie ingredients that go best with leafy greens are:
- Almond milk
- Coconut water
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
Tip: For a smooth and silky texture, blend 1 cup leafy greens with 1 cup liquid base such as water or almond milk and 2 cups fruit and/or other vegetables.
2. Puree Spinach with Sweet Potatoes
Don’t like eating spinach on its own? You don’t have to. Mash or puree it in a blender or food processor with boiled or steamed sweet potatoes. Drizzle them with a spoonful of olive oil for a healthy and delicious dish.
Tip: Preserve most of the vitamins and nutrients in spinach by steaming rather than boiling it.
3. Mix Rocket into an Eye Health Salad
Rocket is rich in carotenoids that help your eyes absorb more nutrients. Varieties include rucola and arugula, both of which are flavorful and can add eye health benefits to your salads.
Ingredients you can add to your rocket salad to maximize eye health benefits include:
- Carrots (grated)
- Red bell peppers (finely chopped)
- Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or peanuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Oily fish
4. Enjoy a Watercress Pesto
Have you ever tried a watercress pesto? It can take wholegrain pasta to a whole new level.
- 1 bundle of watercress
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- bit of salt
- Remove the stems from the watercress.
- Blend the pine nuts and the watercress together.
- Add the olive oil and salt and blend once more until smooth.
Tip: You can also eat pesto with rice crackers and wholegrain bread.
5. Make Collard Green Wraps
Closely related to kale and cabbage, collard greens or collards for short have large leaves, which makes them perfect for raw vegan or vegetarian wraps. You can fill collards with your favorite veggies and protein sources including:
- Sweet potatoes
- Fried onions
- Peanut sauce
- Other greens
- Cut the stem off the collards.
- Add the filling to the middle of the leaf.
- Roll, fold, and enjoy!
6. Bake Kale Chips
Is baked kale good for the eyes? Baking kale will lower its vitamin C and beta-carotene content, true. But because this leafy green is so rich in healthy eye nutrients, you’ll still have plenty left.
Baking kale chips is super easy and makes for a crunchy and addictive snack.
- 1 large bundle of kale
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and/or other seasonings of choice (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 225 degrees F.
- Rinse and dry the kale well, and then tear it into small pieces, leaving out the harder stems.
- Put the kale pieces in a bowl, drizzle them with oil, and add the seasoning.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the kale over it.
- Bake for 15 minutes, stir lightly, and bake for 5 minutes more.
Leafy Greens and Dry Eyes
Do your eyes feel dry and tired? Closeup work on a computer, air-conditioned environments such as offices, and nutritional deficiencies resulting from a busy schedule may all contribute to dry eyes.
The antioxidants and vitamins in leafy greens can help you better manage dry eyes. Getting a daily dose of leafy greens is one of the best things you can do for your eyesight.
If you think you may have dry eyes, we’ve created a simple dry eye test you can take online. It’s question-based and takes only a few minutes.Take the Dry Eye Test now.