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April’s eye food recipe – Beet Salad

Sauce Beet Saladbeet salad

4 medium beets - scrubbed, trimmed and cut in half· 1/3 cup chopped walnuts· 3 tablespoons maple syrup· 1 (10 ounce) package mixed baby salad greens· 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate· 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar· 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil· 2 ounces goat cheese· Add all ingredients to list

1. Place beets into a saucepan, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and cool, then cut in to cubes.

2. While the beets are cooking, place the walnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat. Heat until warm and starting to toast, then stir in the maple syrup. Cook and stir until evenly coated, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice concentrate, balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make the dressing.

4. Place a large helping of baby greens onto each of four salad plates, divide candied walnuts equally and sprinkle over the greens. Place equal amounts of beets over the greens, and top with dabs of goat cheese. Drizzle each plate with some of the dressing.

This recipe is delicious, but why is it good for your eye health?

Beets are a well-known super food, but the two nutrients that benefits the eyes the most are fiber and vitamin C. Vitamin C cannot be stored or created in our bodies. This water-soluble vitamin along with other antioxidants have been shown to decrease the risk of AMD in the elderly and may also reduce the risk of cataracts. A diet high in fiber can benefit eye health in a couple of ways. Foods with high fiber content have a lower glycemic index,and having a lower glycemic index reduces the risk of AMD. Having a higher amount of fiber in our diets also supports a healthy cardiovascular system which in turn promotes healthy eyes.

Dark leafy greens are rich in many nutrients which make them one of the best eye foods. There are many benefits to these greens, the main two are lutein and zeaxanthin. Both of these nutrients are abundant in the macula [the central part of the retina.] Our bodies cannot make either of these nutrients; we must take these in through our diets. In our eyes both of these nutrients absorb blue and UV light, protecting the macula from their harmful effects. Many studies have shown that a diet high in lutein can protects against age-related macular degeneration, and can improve visual function in eyes that already have AMD.

Olive oil is a great addition to this recipe as it increases the body’s ability absorb the lutein found in leafy greens.

Walnuts contain an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA for short. This particular omega-3 has been found to be therapeutic for patients with dry eye syndrome.

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Bon apetit!