Packing a picnic and heading out into the sunshine is quite possibly the loveliest way to spend a summer day in Canada, especially on National Picnic Day! With a focus on eye health, we have considered the most beneficial foods for eyes and created for you an eye-healthy feast you can feel good about. Summer is fleeting, so seize the day and your picnic basket, and don’t forget your sunglasses!
When considering foods for your eyes, it’s important to remember vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Eating the right combination of foods can reduce your risk of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, dry eye, and inflammation-related eye disorders. Plus, dining on a variety of healthy foods at once helps your body absorb more nutrients. So, what’s on our menu? Keep reading!
The nicest picnic spots have open space for frisbee, bubble blowing, or even a game of soccer nearby. While everyone is off playing games, put out snacks for the group. Orange slices paired with bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli with hummus make a delicious nosh between games, while you are casually watching the clouds in the sky, or entirely immersed in a book.
The peppers, broccoli, and citrus fruits—whether they’re oranges, limes, mandarins, lemons, or grapefruit—are rich in Vitamin C, which helps to reduces overall aging in your skin and eyes. It may also contribute to your body’s ability to form and maintain connective tissue, like the collagen in your cornea.
Hummus is not only a delicious way to dip your vegetables; the wellness that can be derived from this Mediterranean staple makes it an important addition to your picnic basket. It’s high in zinc: a mineral that is vital to your immune system’s function. Plus, zinc maintains hair growth, healing, and mental alertness.
When it’s time to sit down to share a meal on a checkered blanket, it’s also the perfect time to get extra minerals into your body to support healthy eyes. More than just lettuce, salads are a chance to get all your favourite flavours into each forkful. We suggest a salad made with spinach and kale, with tomatoes, corn, nuts, and boiled eggs.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are prominent in richly coloured fruits and vegetables. Dark, leafy greens, bright red tomatoes, and vividly yellow corn are all packed with these carotenoids. They help protect your eyes from the UV rays of the sun, which can help reduce your risk of cataracts. If kale isn’t your favourite salad green, romaine and leaf lettuce can contribute lutein and zeaxanthin to your meal, as well.
Adding boiled eggs and nuts can boost the overall nutritional value of your summer salad. Nuts, especially almonds, are high in vitamin E. Boiled eggs also add lutein, which helps you fight age-related macular degeneration while offering a bit of natural fat to help your body absorb vitamins.
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats maintain the health of your retina and reduce your risk of developing dry eye. Salmon is also low in saturated fat, making this a heart-healthy choice, as well. Choose a whole grain wrap or bread for a carbohydrate that won’t cause your blood sugar to spike, which could help reduce retinal damage over time. Adding avocado to the wrap boosts the vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin—all important nutrients for your eye health.
Save room for dessert! Making a simple layered cup of yogurt and berries is a sublime way to watch the sun grow lower in the sky. Adding frozen berries to the mix keeps the yogurt cold throughout the day so it can be a refreshing treat in the hot, late afternoon.
Any kind of dairy, including cheese and milk, contributes not only zinc to your diet but also vitamin A: a nutrient that can improve retinal health while aiding in the development of mucous membranes. The berries, especially blueberries, carry antioxidants that can limit inflammation and may have a role in lessening the effects of those associated eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
Bringing a thermos full of hot water and some of your favourite tea bags is not only a splendid finish to your meal; there could be a link between caffeinated tea and a lowered risk of glaucoma. According to one study, a daily spot of tea could reduce your chance of glaucoma by 74%. If you’re concerned about drinking caffeine that late in the day, try opting for green teas which have about half the caffeine, depending on brew time.
When you venture out for your picnic this summer, make sure you pack an eye-healthy meal for the whole family. From starters to dessert, every element of your nutritious buffet can help promote your ocular health. Of course, don’t forget to wear your sunglasses while you’re out enjoying the beautiful day!
For more delicious, eye-healthy picnic ideas, check out this blog.