Eat your greens

Eat your greens is for those who desire emphatically not to go blind when they get older; and are willing to do something about it now. There is no cure; only prevention makes sense.

The major causes are a deficiency of three nutrients called lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene; and chronic excessive refined carbohydrate consumption causing diabetes. Glaucoma and macular degeneration cannot be cured; eat your greens and gourds like butternut.

Enjoy your greens was the initial title of this column but I decided to rephrase it; we ignore them at our peril so we eat them whether we like them or not.

So what is it about our greens that makes them an imperative?

Summer garden kale is the best source of lutein, the phytochemical that helps prevent macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 5th May, 2023.

Eat your greens

Eat your greens because lutein from your food helps to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts; it has been shown to be far more effective and cheaper than from a pill.

Secondly those of you who read the Witness avidly will have recently seen the grave consequences of colorectal tumours. Your greens contain the very-necessary fibre that keeps the stool soft and easy to pass; visits to the loo become a daily, two minute affair.

Then your greens are loaded with the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that keep us in optimal wellness. Because these essential substances vary substantially from one variety to another it is important to enjoy as wide a spread as possible.

The darker the colour the better so iceberg lettuce rates very low, for example.

Known collectively as dark-green leafy vegetables (DGLV), beet tops for example are loaded with calcium and magnesium; both these minerals are essential for bone strength and the prevention of arthritis.

Consider then the vitamin called folate which every single woman of child-bearing age must have daily. Before she even knows she is pregnant, the neural tube is forming; should she be low in this B9, the foetus may develop very serious defects such as spina bifida and cleft lip.

The performance of our children in school is directly related to folate intake; and is absolutely essential in many different chemical processes in the body.

Lutein and zeaxanthin

Lastly your greens are amongst the best sources of carotenoids in the body. The decision to write this page was sparked by a visit to the optician.

Said he after examining me carefully, "You obviously eat a lot of greens."

I was astounded; how could he possibly have known? Said he, "You have absolutely no sign of cataracts or macular degeneration which is unusual at your age. You are clearly getting more than enough lutein and zeaxanthin from your food." So I went on to tell him about Bernie's delicious spinach dip that we enjoy regularly.

Bernies spinach dip

These two phytochemicals are found in very high concentrations in the cones of the retina; a deficiency of either is the major cause of eye-diseases related to aging.

I could write pages on why dark-leafy green vegetables are called functional foods; they promote wellness and help to prevent disease. There is masses of scientific evidence confirming it. We and our children need to eat them daily whether we enjoy them or not.

I went to town on preparing my lunch yesterday but it was really not that atypical. You will spy several different types of lettuce, sprigs of parsley and fresh coriander; then there are leaves of kale, baby spinach and red sorrel.

Also on the platter are beet tops, fresh green peas and homemade hummus; and bread made with 100% wholewheat flour, butter and cherry-guava jelly. The salad, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice makes a delicious meal.

Eat your greens daily preferably some raw with a little fat to increase the absorption of the carotenoids; and others lightly-steamed.

Chew your greens thoroughly to release those carotenoids.

Read more about lutein macular degeneration. Discovering about the millions of needlessly blind people[1] brought me much disquiet; and confirmed that I was doing the right thing by eating my greens. Will you join me?

An autumn lunch consists mainly of greens.

Is this the lunch of an epicure or a food snob? You be the judge; either way I don't fancy doctors poking sharp instruments into my eyes.

Beta-carotene

Beta-carotene is the nutrient found in the orange and yellow foods; it consists of two vitamin A molecules linked together.

A vitamin A deficiency if the cause of blindness in half a million children every year. That translates in over a thousand kids every single day simply because they did not have access to foods like carrots and pumpkin.

Diabetes

Diabetes is the other great cause of blindness; it affects one in four of those living with the disease[2].

A healthy diet for prediabetes means strictly limiting refined carbs and exercising daily.

Iron

Dark-green leafy vegetables are also rich in iron. It is interesting that chewing them not only has an abrasive function that helps to cleanse our teeth from stains but furthermore provides a protective coating that saves them from acidic foods that would attack the enamel.

If you ever consider being a blood donor then these foods rich in iron are even more important; one day you or someone in your family could be in dire need.

Less than one percent of people are blood donors; each pint given saves three lives.

Eat your greens whether you like them or not; the alternative is too ghastly to contemplate.

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  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
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