Eating a well-balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats does more than just help you maintain your weight — it’s also essential for promoting eye health and keeping your vision sharp. Foods such as fish, eggs, nuts, and vegetables (particularly orange ones) are packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids that have the power to fight against a wide variety of degenerative eye conditions.
Taking in nutrient-rich foods packed with beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc minerals on a regular basis can naturally fight against a variety of eye diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
Thankfully, the majority of these eye-boosting vitamins and minerals can be ingested naturally through food! October in particular is an excellent time to pack in seasonal vegetables loaded with beta-carotenes such as squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli, and carrots. Here are five fall recipes that are great for your eyes and taste good, too!
1. Oven Roasted Honey Mustard Salmon
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, a polyunsaturated fat that helps support eye cells. The human eye actually contains a high concentration of DHA, a cell-forming compound that is a particular type of omega-3. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties which can help ward against diabetic retinopathy (RD), making salmon a must if you’re looking for fall recipes that are great for your eyes!
Give this oven roasted honey mustard salmon recipe a try at dinner time.
- 9 thyme sprigs
- 2-4 lb. salmon fillet (with skin on)
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 2 ½ tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place thyme sprigs side-by-side on the sheet. Put the salmon on top of the thyme with the skin down.
- Mix together the mustard, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl and coat the salmon with the mixture. Sprinkle the thyme leaves over the salmon, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then, place the thin lemon slices over the fish.
- Once the oven reaches 450°, bake the salmon for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and serve warm.
2. Butternut Squash and Mozzarella Pizza
Squash is a great seasonal choice in October, and it’s packed with vitamin C, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that guards your eyes against dangerous free radicals and aids in the production of collagen, which provides structure to your cornea and sclera. Zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin are compounds that help prevent the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and naturally filter out blue light that’s omitted by technology.
This butternut squash and mozzarella pizza is downright delicious and gets bonus points for its eye-protecting qualities!
- 1 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 1 prepared pizza dough of choice
- Preheat the oven to 475° and place a pizza stone inside oven to warm up (about 30 minutes). Combine the butternut squash with olive oil and salt and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Place tender squash into a food processor with ¼ lb. mozzarella, ricotta, cream, and salt. Process the mixture until smooth.
- Heat ¼ cup olive oil and add chile flakes in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the zucchini and salt to taste, and cook for about 9 minutes (until golden). Transfer zucchini to a bowl. Then, repeat process with both bell peppers, cooking for about 8 minutes.
- Place one store-bought or homemade pizza dough on the warmed pizza stone. Spread the squash puree on the crust generously, and top with the zucchini, peppers, remaining cheese, and basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil, and broil the pizza until crust is browned and cheese is melted (4-5 minutes).
3. Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup
Sweet potatoes and carrots are both seasonal superheroes, making this soup dish another showstopper if you’re looking for fall recipes that are great for your eyes! Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium, while carrots are full of vitamin K, beta-carotene, fiber, and antioxidants. Plus, both these fall vegetables aid in weight loss.
This sweet potato and carrot soup is quick and easy, making it a great go-to all autumn long!
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 1 tbsp. curry powder
- 1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 Honeycrisp or Fuji apple, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp. honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring until soft, about 10 minutes. Don’t brown them; they should be translucent. Add the curry powder and cook for one more minute.
- Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, chicken broth, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in apples and honey.
- Using a handheld blender, blend the contents of the soup together until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding more honey and curry if desired.
4. Garlic Parmesan Crusted Broccoli and Potato
Similar to sweet potatoes and carrots, broccoli packs high amounts of vitamins A and C. However, broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage by free radicals, which are molecules that break down eye composition. Furthermore, vitamin E helps prevent age-related cataracts.
If you’re in need of some delicious fall recipes that are great for your eyes, this garlic parmesan crusted broccoli and potato makes a beautiful side dish for the holidays or dinner parties!
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp. onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 24 oz. broccoli florets
- 16 oz. baby potatoes, halved
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, and onion powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut four 12-inch sheets of foil, and divide the broccoli and potatoes into 4 equal portions in the center of the foil sheets.
- Fold up the sides of each foil packet. Pour the garlic mixture over the broccoli and potatoes, assuring it doesn’t spill out the sides of the foil boats.
- Fold the sides of the foil over the vegetables, covering completely and sealing the packets closed. Place the foil packets on a baking sheet side by side, and cook in the oven to bake until tender, about 12-15 minutes.
- Serve hot and sprinkle with Parmesan.
5. Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Pumpkins are another seasonal vegetable that scream “fall!” Pumpkin is easy to cook with, and it can make almost any dish feel a little more like autumn. Plus, pumpkins have high levels of potassium, antioxidants, and beta-carotene, making them the perfect addition to your diet if you’re looking for fall recipes that are great for your eyes.
Be careful; one whiff of these pumpkin spice pancakes will bring the whole neighborhood to your kitchen for breakfast!
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ginger
- ½ tsp. salt
- In a large bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin puree, egg, oil, and vinegar. In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Stir into the liquid pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
- Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium heat. Pour the batter onto the griddle, using about ¼ cup for each pancake. Brown both sides, and serve hot with butter and syrup (if desired).
No matter what you’re cooking up this autumn, there are tons of ways to integrate seasonal fruits, vegetables, and produce that build up essential vitamins and antioxidants that fight against eye disease. With these superfoods at your fingertips, it won’t be hard to whip up fall recipes that are great for your eyes all season long!
At Williamson Eye Institute, we are dedicated to assisting our patients with their vision and eye-related needs throughout the years. To find out more about our services, visit our website or call our office to schedule a personal consultation. You can also find us on Facebook or LinkedIn.