Top 5 Foods For Maintaining 20:20 Vision

by | Feb 7, 2011

Photo by helgabj

Now you see me, now you don’t.

Today’s guest blogger Tim Harwood is a UK based optometrist who also writes for TreatmentSaver.com.

Top 5 Foods For Maintaining 20:20 Vision

by Tim Harwood

If you are lucky enough to have perfect vision, don’t assume it will last forever. As we get older the chances of us developing an eye disease increases dramatically–10% of people over the age of 65 have macular degeneration, and that increases to 30% over the next 10 years.

To preserve perfect vision, first you have to cover the basics:

  • Get regular eye tests: Have your vision tested at least every 24 months, as early detection increases the likelihood a disease can be treated. Although not all diseases are treatable (e.g. macular degeneration), certain diseases such as glaucoma respond excellently to medication when detected early enough.
  • Don’t ignore visual symptoms: Regardless of how recently you have had an eye test, you should never ignore visual symptoms. If you see flashing lights, floating specks or blind spots in your vision these could indicate an eye disease that needs urgent attention.

How can food help me maintain perfect vision?

The macula is in the center of our retina and is responsible for central vision, reading and recognizing faces. As we get older our macula shows signs of wear and tear, a process known as macular degeneration. There is no effective treatment for this age-related degeneration, which is why eating the right foods is extremely important.

Within the macula there are 2 key pigments:

  1. Lutein
  2. Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants found within the macula. These antioxidants reduce the amount of free radicals formed within our body as a natural consequence of our cells using oxygen (oxidation). These free radicals have degenerative effects on our eyes, which are thought to be the cause of macular degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin slow down this process and help preserve the macula.

Ophthalmologists are now recommending that people with early signs of macular degeneration take lutein and zeaxanthin supplements or change their diet accordingly.

What foods are high in lutein and zeaxanthin?

Here are the top 5 foods with the highest concentrations of these beneficial nutrients:

  1. Kale
  2. Spinach
  3. Peas
  4. Courgette / zucchini
  5. Brussel sprouts

Studies show that 6 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin should be eaten daily as part of your diet to provide the maximum benefit to your macula. This equates to about one large bowl of spinach or kale daily. Even if you can’t eat this amont every day, it is worth the effort to eat as much of these vegetables as you can manage.

Though these nutrients do not guarantee protection against macular degeneration, evidence suggests they at least slow the progression of the disease. In any case these vegetables are extremely healthy and may also protect against other conditions caused by oxidation such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

How’s your vision?

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Farmers Market Update: Foodzie

by | Feb 6, 2011

Mandarinquat

Even though SF residents will suffer through a freezing June, July and August, there’s no denying the sweetness of a surprise summer day in February. This weekend’s weather was amazing, which makes it that much sadder that I wasn’t able to make it to the farmers market.

organic brussel sprouts - Swanton Berry Farm

Unfortunately a veterinary emergency kept me from visiting the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market this weekend, but thankfully friend and fellow foodie Emily Olson from Foodzie volunteered to step in. Not only did she bring me a bounty of fruits and vegetables, she also provided all the pictures for this week.

Carrots - Marin Roots Farm

Thanks Emily!

Spinach - Heirloom Organics

Meyer Lemons - K & J Orchards

Cardoons - Knoll Farms

Guavas - Brokaw Farm

Pimientos de Padron - Happy Quail Farms

California Navel Oranges - Olsen Farms

Green Garlic - Knoll Farms

Kiwis - Four Sisters Farm

Zutano Avocado - Olsen Farms

Broccoli di Ciccio - Chue's Farm Fresh Vegetables

Thompson Raisins - Hidden Star Orchards

Mustard Rapini - Knoll Farms

Is it springtime yet?

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For The Love Of Food

by | Feb 4, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

In case you missed it, I shared my thoughts on the new USDA Dietary Guidelines over at my personal blog (and on MSNBC, kinda). Also this week fake sugars find themselves in the spotlight, along with dark meat chicken and the culinary crack pipe. And if you were wondering, we here at Summer Tomato have plenty of reasons to believe breakfast is still important.

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For a complete list of my favorite stories check out my links on Digg. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Top 10 iPhone Apps For Healthy Living

by | Feb 2, 2011

Photo by Gonzalo Baeza Hernández

Geeks, this one’s for you. Guest author David Harfield blogs at iphoneappcafe.com about iPhone apps and accessories, and also provides tips to get the most out of your iPhone.

Top 10 iPhone Apps For Healthy Living

by David Harfield

Healthy living and technology don’t often walk hand in hand. However, with the rise of the iPhone’s popularity, tech experts around the world are putting their cerebral skills to practical use for leading a healthy life. Here are the 10 best iPhone apps for healthy living.

1. Locavore

$2.99

For anyone who is serious about sourcing locally produced food, then Locavore is an essential purchase. Not only does it recommend local farmers markets depending on your location, it informs you of food that is in season or coming into season near you. Locavore provides links to Wikipedia sites that show you details of the fruit or vegetable that you are interested in as well as a link to Epicurious recipes that show you how to turn your healthy food into delicious meals. Also, the in-app updates from Twitter and Satisfaction mean you can trade information with other foodies and sway recipes and health food tips.

2. iFitness

$1.99

The iFitness app is essentially a pocket sized personal trainer, who only charges you a one off fee of $1.99 and never gives you a guilt trip for missing a training session. Offering comprehensive routines and exercise programs aimed at working out a particular muscle group, iFitness also provides a detailed diagram of the human body so that you can determine which area it is that you want to train. There are personalized exercises for various sports, such as the ‘Basketball Conditioning Routine’ that shows you a set of exercises aimed at improving the muscle groups to help make you an NBA contender. The routines can be done anywhere and everywhere, using anything from free weights to office chairs for the ‘Business Travel Workout’. By keeping a personalised log of your workouts as well as a BMI Calculator and weight monitor, this app is the ultimate workout buddy.

3. Fooducate

Free

This App is a true triumph of technology in the land of the supermarket. By using the Fooducate app, your iPhone is able to quickly scan the barcodes on food packaging, which gives you a detailed analysis of the nutritional content of the food, and enables you to make an informed decision as to whether to shove it in your shopping cart or your mouth. If the food contains trans fats, controversial food colourings or anything else that the manufacturers may want to keep hidden from you, then Fooducate will highlight it and let you know what you are about to put into your body. On top of this, Fooducate also provides preferable alternatives if the food you scan is not to the highest of standards. If you are a busy parent who doesn’t have the time to browse the local farmers markets and has to shop at the supermarket, then this is the app for you.

4. Whole Foods Market Recipes

Free

Whole Foods Market Recipes is a great app for those of you who like to experiment in the kitchen, while not compromising on the health and nutrition. It shows you where your nearest Whole Foods Market is, then allows you to search for recipes by ingredients or dietary types including gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan or low fat. All of the nutritional information are listed alongside the ingredients, all of which are natural and organic. The recipes include easy to follow cooking instructions that really do produce tasty meals. A nifty little function allows you to search for recipes based on what you already have in your fridge, meaning that you can build a meal around what you already have in the house.

5. Veg Out

$2.99

Vegetarianism is becoming more mainstream every day, the only problem is trying to find a decent veggie restaurant when you’re out and about. If you have felt this pain then Veg Out is the app for you. By utilizing Google Maps technology, Veg Out directs the hungry vegetarian to the nearest veggie eatery, all with user-rated star rankings, where their favorite meat-free dishes await.

6. Runkeeper Pro

Free

This is the ultimate running app, as it uses Google Maps to help plan routes on which you can put heel to the pavement and give your body a work out in the fresh air. Incredibly easy to use, Runkeeper Pro keeps track of how far you have run, your average speed, the current pace that you are running at and how many calories you have burned during your journey. You can use all the regular applications on your iPhone such as its iPod and camera functions without having to pause the app, meaning your jog around the block can be sound tracked and photo-documented. A great way to keep track of your personal running goals, Runkeeper Pro really is a valuable tool for any aspiring runners.

7. Good Food Near You

Free

Building on Veg Out’s idea of locating veggie-friendly restaurants in your surroundings, Good Food Near You takes things one step further and tells you what the healthiest menu option is in restaurants dotted around your proximity. It will tell you exactly how much fat is in the average burrito in your local Mexican takeaway, or the number of calories are awaiting you in that seafood special in the nearest Thai restaurant. This is probably not an app to take out on birthdays or special occasions, but can help you eat healthily when you’re on the go.

8. Yoga Trainer Pro

$1.99

For centuries yogis have been leading a healthy, spiritual lifestyle through this fascinating and all-encompassing form of exercise. From beginner poses to advanced sets of training, Yoga Trainer Pro teaches you a variety of stretches and breathing exercises that not only improve your overall fitness and health, but also allows you to practice yoga anytime, anywhere you want at a fraction of the price of yoga classes. The step-by-step guides include photos and voice alerts to talk you through each pose, letting you learn at your own pace. With popular yoga routines and techniques including Pranayama, Meditation and Astanga, this app will have you bending and breathing, but never breaking, in next to no time.

9. WaterWorks (not yet available in US)

$1.99

By setting your target amount of water intake for the day, WaterWorks reminds you how much H2O you have to ingest to meet your goal before the end of the day. Through consistent reminders to stay hydrated, this simple little app is a Godsend to those of us who live life on the go and often forget the simplest of tasks, like drinking enough water. You can set up your own water containers and their respective sizes, (in litres, gallons, ounces, etc), so that you know exactly how much water it is that you are drinking throughout the day.

10. Food Additives 2

$3.99

Food Additives 2, lets you know the lowdown on which additives are in your food and which are particularly detrimental to your health–whether you suffer from a long list of ailments or are as fit as a fiddle. By inputting the additive name or number that should be listed on the back of any food that you are buying from a supermarket or local shop, Food Additives 2 will show you the origin of the substance such as fish, animal, plant etc., its general use and functionality. It will also tell you any known or potential side effects that the additive may cause, the maximum or recommended daily intake and any dietary restrictions that the additive may fall under.

Well, there we have it guys, 10 iPhone Apps that actually help you lead a healthy life. Consider a few of these next time you’re squinting at a screen and trying to conquer the next level Angry Birds. Remember, these Apps will only work if you use them everyday, so no cheating and “forgetting” your iPhone charger!

What are your favorite healthy living apps?

To see Darya’s favorite apps follow her on Chomp

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