Archive for April, 2011

Here’s Looking at You: Eating for Eye Health


Maintaining one’s eye health is very important. Although we don’t often think about it, having effective eyesight is a vital aspect of a full and thriving existence. Just imagine not being able to see the flowers blooming this spring if you didn’t have healthy eyes! Therefore it’s important to eat the foods necessary for good eye health.

Here are ten foods from Healthdiaries.com that will help maintain eye health and that may protect against cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye problems.

Avocados
Avocados are one the most nutrient-dense foods that exist, so it’s no wonder they’re great for your eyes. They contain more lutein than any other fruit. Lutein is important in the prevention of macular degeneration and cataracts. They are also a great source of other important eye nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.

Carrots
Carrots have long been recognized as an eye food due to their high levels of vitamin A.

Broccoli
Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C, calcium, lutein, zeaxanthin, and sulforaphane.

Eggs
Eggs are an excellent source of eye nutrients like vitamin A, zinc, lutein, lecithin, B12, vitamin D, and cysteine.

Spinach
Another great source of vitamin A, spinach also contains other important eye nutrients including lutein and zeaxathin.

Kale
Like spinach, kale is a good source of vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxathin.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and lycopene, two important eye nutrients.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds contain selenium, a nutrient that may prevent cataracts and promote overall eye health.

Garlic
Garlic contains selenium and other eye nutrients such as vitamin C and quercetin.

Salmon
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining overall eye health. It also contains folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin A.

A Guide to Spring Fruits and Veggies


Before hitting the grocery store or produce stands this season, it’s helpful to have a good idea of what spring fruits and vegetables are in season. The following fruits and veggies from Localfoods.about.com should have the best flavor and value during the spring, however, this can often depend on the specific crops and harvest dates in your particular climate

• Apricots – come into season toward the end of spring in warmer areas where they are grown. Look for apricots that are slightly soft, not bruised.

• Artichokes –
main harvest takes places in the spring but there is also a second crop in the fall. Look for artichokes with tight compact leaves, fresh-cut stem ends, and a bright green color.

• Asparagus – harvested from March to June. Look for closed and compact tips, and bright green stalks.

• Carrots – harvested year-round in temperate climates. Make sure to look for crisp, healthy tops.

• Collard Greens –
grow year-round, but are best harvested in late summer in cold areas and fall through spring in warm regions. Watch out, it turns bitter when too hot. Make sure it has a dark green, vibrant color before purchasing.

• Cherries – sweet cherries are harvested from May to August. Sour cherries have a much shorter season, a week or two during the middle of June.

• Lemons – are at their juicy best from winter into early summer.

• Pineapple – sniff the bottom for sweet aroma, check for firmness.

• Peas – peas including garden, snap, and snow come into season in the spring and last through most of the summer. They should be bright green and should have a bit of a snap rather than being limp.

• Radishes – are at their sweet, crunchy best in the spring.

• Rhubarb – the first fruit of the spring in many areas. Make sure to check for bright, crisp, heavy stalks with shiny skin.

• Strawberries – peak season is April through June. Pick fragrant, slightly soft ones.

The Scoop on Seasonal Allergies


Ahhh! Spring is finally here! After a long and cold winter, everyone is in their glory with the sunshine and warm weather. But with spring also comes seasonal allergies complete with the miserable sneezing, itching and sniffling.

So what are seasonal allergies exactly? Well, according to Allergies.about.com, a seasonal allergy is an allergic reaction to a trigger that is only around for certain seasons of the year. Such triggers can include pollen from trees, weeds and grasses. There are also perennial allergies that include triggers such as pet dander or molds.

More specifically, spring allergies are the result of pollen from trees that usually starts anywhere from January to April. Trees that commonly cause allergies include oak, olive, elm, birch, ash, sycamore, maple and walnut. These pollens are tiny egg-shaped powdery grains released from flowering plants and are carried by wind or insects. When pollen is in the air it can land in a person’s eyes, nose, lungs and skin causing allergic reactions.

Pollens that are spread by the wind are usually the main cause of season allergies. This pollen travels long distances and the levels that are in the air vary from day to day. Pollen levels can also vary between different geographic regions and depending on what time of day it is. Pollen is considered highest in the morning from 5 to 10 a.m.

Anybody who suffers from allergies probably knows immediately when their allergies have kicked it into high gear in the spring. However, most seasonal allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and an itchy nose.

There are ways to avoid pollen exposure, however, including:

• Keeping windows closed to prevent pollen from drifting into your home

• Minimizing early morning activity when pollen is usually emitted — between 5-10 a.m.

• Keeping car windows closed when traveling.

• Staying indoors when the pollen count is reported to be high, and on windy days when pollen may be present in higher amounts in the air.

• Traveling to a more pollen-free area, such as the beach or sea.

• Avoiding mowing the lawn and freshly cut grass.

• Machine-dry your bedding and clothing. Pollen may collect in laundry if it is hung outside to dry.