Greens for your eyes' sake

Enjoy your greens for your eyes' sake because as always prevention by eating kale and spinach is a lot better than trying to cure macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Curly leafed kale for your eyes.
  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Our green home
  3. Greens for your eyes' sake

By Bernard Preston

I was astonished when my optician said to me, ‘You enjoy a lot of greens, don’t you?’ How could he possibly have known? Continuing, said he, ‘There is not a sign of a cataract, or macular degeneration.’


That lead to some study and ultimately understanding that two phytochemicals, lutein and zeaxanthin, are found in very high concentration in the eyes; they absorbe the damaging high energy spectrum of radiation.

These carotenes are found in abundance in your greens, and in other fruit and vegetables; zucchini squash has the benefit of being rich in both lutein and zeaxanthin.

This simply emphasises the need to enjoy a broad spectrum of coloured foods.

It’s estimated that five million Americans are needlessly blind because of a deficiency of these two carotenoids, and many more are partially sighted. Enjoy your greens, and even if don’t enjoy them, eat them! Medicine never tasted this good.

Your greens of course are rich in many other important phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins; just the folic acid for your children’s brains is a good enough reason to ensure they are daily on the menu; strong research shows the kids’ll perform better in school.

January is the season of high temperatures and humidity; that has meant that what we call spinach, Swiss chard in fact, has been decimated by moulds. Luckily the kale has proved more resistant, and the lettuce is flourishing provide we water it daily in the heat. Luckily with all the rain, the underground reservoir is full.

Kale seems to be a little known green in South Africa; in fact it ranks right up there with broccoli and Swiss chard in the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory stakes;  and it’s one of the richest sources of lutein, the stuff that prevents that age-onset macular degeneration.

There are many varieties of kale; we grow several, but I actually prefer the common variety that grows quite tall. Unfortunately the iNdlazis also know that it’s the best food; they too instinctively know it’s good for their eyes; you may need to make a frame with bird netting to protect your kale. This is the time to get the seed in the ground for your winter veg.

Holding the thick stalk, by running your fingers down the leaf you can strip off the edible greens.
I first fry a small onion in butter, we never eat margarine because of the hydrogenated fats, perhaps with garlic and chilli, and then drop in the sliced kale, often mixed with a few other greens such as Swiss chard and sweet basil; add a few tablespoons of boiling water. Plop an egg on it and you have eggs Florentine.

I admit to being a bit of a fruitcake; most days we have eggs Hilton for breakfast, a lettuce salad for lunch and kale for supper. I don’t fancy someone poking me in the eye with a laser or sharp scalpel! Glaucoma.org states that lutein and zeaxanthin are also important in the prevention and treatment of glaucoma.

A summer salad is full of diverse greens and other coloured veggies.

Greens for your eyes' sake

Greens for your eyes sake or you may go blind or get cataracts. Read more about the lutein benefit.

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