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If You Have a Choice, Choose Super Foods - 01/09/19

If you have a Choice, Choose a Super Food

Many health care providers including cardiologists, primary care providers, endocrinologists and ophthalmologists, to name a few in the medical field, have shared with their patients the benefits of “colorful” eating.  Eat your fruits, eat your vegetables, the more color the better, while maintaining a healthy weight not only with diet but exercise too. So what does this all mean?  In the eyes of your Ophthalmologist, it means choose those foods that provide the most health benefits for protecting your eyes, specifically, your retina, for the long term.

The retina is found at the back of your eye, a nerve fiber layer that transmits images to your brain, allowing for keen, crisp vision. If there is damage to the retina in the form of Macular Degeneration, Hypertensive Retinopathy or Diabetic Retinopathy, some of the more common retinal problems we treat, then images transmitted to your brain will be distorted, unclear, missing pieces. The macula, the very center of your retina, transmits the crisp, clear vision you see in the center of your vision during all daily activities.

Two yellow pigments found in the macula, Lutein and Zeaxanthin are thought to assist in filtering out visible blue light which my damage the retina. Here’s where the super foods come in. These carotenoids are also found in a number of fruits and vegetables and are also produced in specially formulated vitamins. Note, dietary supplements may not be appropriate for all people and food base sources of vitamins normally provide the greatest benefits. So get ready to leaf through those recipes on line or in your favorite books because we will list in order, those foods with the highest concentration of carotenoids. You’ll never guess #1….? Start something simple that has so many positive effects on your quality of life. Seize the day!

Research thru the USDA of those foods that pack the most punch when it comes to colorful eating and carotenoids are: #1 (below) of course, #2 Tomato, #3 Pumpkin, #4 Kale, #5 Vegetable Juice, #6 Collards, #7 Spinach, #8 Sweet Potato, #9 Turnip Greens, #10 Apricots. 
To maximize nutrition, the vegetables are best served lightly cooked, pureed or dehydrated. Hmmm… I can feel those creative juices flowing already.  Set an intention. Happy New Year.

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