Maintaining Healthy Vision

August 19, 2023

Our eyes are small organs with tiny blood vessels and nerves that do so much work for us on a daily basis. Have you ever thought about how the food you eat provides much needed nutrients for the health of your eyes? Today we’ll focus on which foods provide the best nutrition for your vision, what foods to decrease to limit damage to your eyes, and some key supplements for boosted eye support.

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MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Last week our show and podcast was “What Does Anxiety Have to Do With Food? This week we'll be discussing how food helps to maintain good vision. Are you surprised? So listeners, do you ever think about whether the foods you're eating for breakfast either help provide nutrients for good eye health, or are your food choices detrimental to your eye health? Something to think about, and I think it's a new topic we haven't really talked about.

BRITNI: Mm-Hmm. For sure.

MELANIE: I'm Melanie Beasley, and I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And on other shows, I've shared my own health journey over the years with cancer and some digestive issues and a host of other things. And I believe that if you're a dietitian or a physician or therapist, and when you've had your own struggles and your own health issues, they do develop a deeper understanding of your client's struggles, and you're more willing to sort of dig in and find those solutions and get them some relief. And I know, Britni, you would agree with me with your own health journey, right?

BRITNI: Yeah. Absolutely. I, it, you empathize, sympathize with the clients more, and then yeah, you have personal interests, so you dive even deeper into the research.

MELANIE: Yeah. Yeah. And there's nothing better. It's the best job in the world when you look across a client at a client an appointment or two later, and they have relief.


MELANIE: It's the best job.

BRITNI: It is the best.

MELANIE: So we like to have no judgment, just some education and support. So you heard her voice. Joining me today is my cohost, Britni Vincent. And Britni, I know you've had your own health journey.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think, I think we all have here, and that's part of why we're here, right?

MELANIE: It's the human condition.

BRITNI: Yeah. We want to help others and get them relief as well. And as a mother of three children under the age of four, I can totally relate to not being perfect.

MELANIE: You can't be perfect.

BRITNI: No, no. And that's the thing. I mean, we tell our clients all the time, we're not expecting perfection. That doesn't exist. It's, it's progress, not perfection.



MELANIE: I like that.

BRITNI: But, you know, at the same time, I am a registered and licensed dietitian, and I try my best to put real food on the table for my family. And and I and my kids, I'm seeing it as they're aging. They're preferring real food. You know, if other processed food is around, if we're places, a lot of times they're preferring the real food.

MELANIE: You're doing it.

BRITNI: Yeah, which is great. And I think, you know, even as adults, we get to that point too, you know, the more you eat real food you may not, this may be hard for some of you to believe, but the more you eat real food, the more your body really does prefer it.

MELANIE: And your palate changes. I have clients that say, oh, that was just too sweet. I can't believe how sweet that was.

BRITNI: Yeah. Or you look at that processed food and you know how you're going to feel afterwards. And then it's just not worth it.

MELANIE: It's the enemy.

BRITNI: And, you know, at our goal, or our goal at Dishing Up Nutrition, it's really always been to educate listeners in a way that's teaching nutrition science in a practical, usable manner.


BRITNI: So this show is really geared toward the user of nutrition, not the researcher of nutrition.

MELANIE: That's a really good point.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. We're, we try to provide actionable items so you know how to put this in place in your own life after, after listening. And today, if you do have questions, send it to our Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook group or email the question to And on that Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook group, you can also ask questions to be possibly featured in one of our mini Dishing Up Nutrition episodes.

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MELANIE: It's exciting.

BRITNI: Yeah. So…

MELANIE: Be a star.

BRITNI: Put your questions out there for us.

MELANIE: Yeah, we love that because it keeps us sharpening our own tools, right?


MELANIE: I've had some stumpers where I'm like, huh, that's an interesting one. It it gets you digging into the research. Well, today we'll break down common food choices that support good eye health, and we want to share food you should leave at the grocery store because they are damaging to your eyes.

Food that supports good eye health & vision

To start, let's focus on foods that support good eye health and vision. Here's the good news. Listeners, what are you eating for breakfast? If you're making breakfast right now, look down at your plate. What are you eating? We would suggest eating two to three eggs cooked in real butter. I like grass fed butter. And why do we suggest eggs? Well, eggs are an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin. We often think of lutein and zeaxanthin as being very potent antioxidants and protect our eyes from damage that free radicals can cause.

DHA is critical to eye health

And if you eat organic eggs or pastured eggs, the egg yolks are also a great source of a fatty acid, DHA, which is an essential fatty acid for your brain and eye health. So just think for years we were told to eliminate the yolk because it was thought that egg yolks were bad for the heart. So much false information. I'd like to say macular degeneration is on the rise since that time period. So no wonder there's a lot of confusion around nutrition. Wouldn't you say?

BRITNI: So much confusion. I mean, we're still hearing mixed messages out there, but you know that DHA is so critical to eye health. Of all the tissues in the body, the retina has the highest concentration of DHA, and a lot of clients either add it in or increase the amount for dry eyes and they get relief many times.

MELANIE: I love that.

BRITNI: And in DHA, that is in omega three. So that is one type of therapeutic form of omega three.

A few eye health supportive vegetables

And you know, we're talking about having eggs for breakfast. If you throw in some spinach or kale to your eggs, which is easy to do, you have increased your antioxidant protection even more. Add some carrots in there. You have now added a natural form of beta carotene, and beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, which is vitamin A is really critical for vision.

MELANIE: Another great one is put some sweet potatoes.


MELANIE: With your eggs.


MELANIE: Instead of regular potato, do hash brown sweet potatoes.

BRITNI: Yeah, yummy. So that beta carotene is the orange colored vegetables.

MELANIE: Yeah. Easy.

Vitamin C: another powerful antioxidant for eye health

BRITNI: You could add some orange slices on the side, and that's going to give you some vitamin C. Again, another powerful antioxidant. So food really does matter when it comes to eye health and real food is going to support good vision.

Processed food is void of critical antioxidant nutrients

Processed food, on the other hand, is void of these critical antioxidant nutrients. You know, we're throwing around the word antioxidant a lot.

MELANIE: Yeah, we are.

What do antioxidants do in the body?

BRITNI: And I think everybody knows antioxidants are good, but you might not know what they actually do in the body. So an antioxidant is going to prevent or slow cell damage caused by free radicals, and free radicals, they are unstable molecules that our body produces in response to cell damaging components in our environment, such as processed food, what we're talking about today.

MELANIE: Even pollution.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. There's all sorts of environmental stressors that are going to increase free radicals, but we have control over the food portion of it.

MELANIE: Which helps protect us from what's going on in our environment, which we can't necessarily control.

BRITNI: Great point.

Sugar is harmful for eye health

MELANIE: So then you have to ask, what are some of the worst foods for your eyes? Listeners, I bet you thought I was going to say sugar. Let me connect the dots for you with sugar. When it results, when we eat sugar, it results in higher blood sugars in our bloodstream, such as maybe prediabetes or diabetes. And that can damage your eyes. If you value your eyesight, which of course we all do, and your blood glucose is in the prediabetic range, please make an appointment with a Weight and Wellness nutritionist to help you understand what you’re eating or drinking that's causing that damaging blood sugar level.

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Blood sugar balance is important for eye health

Because high blood sugars damage tiny blood vessels and nerves in your eyes and your ears resulting in poor vision, poor hearing. So blood sugar levels are controllable through your diet. It's important for blood glucose control to, it's important for your blood glucose to be in control, to know what you're eating and how it affects your blood sugar, because you can be the master of that situation with just a little knowledge.


MELANIE: You can be in control of it and it's easy and it's worth protecting your eyes. I know we all agree with that. So the importance of blood sugar control for eye health is just so important. It's also critical for cancer prevention, to decrease pain and inflammation. So let's plunge into some important nutrition habits that you possibly have that have great impact on your eye health. Let's do that, Britni.

BRITNI: Before we do that, it is time for our first break already. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. As nutritionists and dietitians, we realize changing your food choices usually means that to eat real food that heals, you need to do some cooking. To teach and inspire you to cook real food, we offer a variety of cooking classes on Zoom. A great cooking class to check out is how to roast, braise or sauté meat, which will be taught live on Wednesday, September 20th. You can sign up online at, and the Weight and Wellness cooking team is ready to answer any of your cooking questions.

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MELANIE: It's great. No question is is not worth asking.


MELANIE: We'll be right back.

BRITNI: We'll be right back.


An eye supportive supplement

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. An effective eye supplement I often recommend to clients who want to provide important nutrients to their eyes is a supplement from Ortho Molecular called 4Sight. It's the number 4Sight. I like 4Sight because with just two capsules daily, my clients get extra antioxidant support, also special support for macular health and increased ocular circulation. Many key nutrients needed for ongoing eye support are included in the 4Sight formula. It is of course important to include foods that contain these nutrients, but 4Sight adds a special boost of nutrients for eyes that are compromised. And I like it. I feel like it's an insurance.

BRITNI: I, it makes a huge difference.


BRITNI: …for people that take it. It, it really does. It's a very, very powerful supplement.

MELANIE: And, go ahead.

BRITNI: Well, I was just going to say before break, you know, you were talking a lot about blood sugars and that impact in, in our eye health, I mean really our health systemically, but it can damage our eyes having high blood sugar.

Refined, damaged fats is damaging for eye health

And another factor is eating foods with refined damaged fats.

MELANIE: Good. Yes. I'm glad you're talking about this.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I believe that they are some of the worst foods for your overall health and your eye health. So the ones that I'm talking about are the manufactured oils like margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, cottonseed oil. You know, really this is a confusing topic because people sometimes wonder, is this a refined oil?

MELANIE: It sounds like real food. Some of them.

BRITNI: Yeah. Right. Definitely not the cottonseed oil. That is not real food.

MELANIE: That's not real food.

BRITNI: But you know, if you're questioning it, just think about the original source. Is it fatty or oily? Corn is not fatty or oily, nor is soybeans.

MELANIE: Cotton.

BRITNI: Yeah. Right. That can help you to decipher what's a refined oil and what's not.

MELANIE: So Britni, what about sunflower oil?

BRITNI: Oh, that is a good question.


BRITNI: You know, I think you can find expeller pressed sunflower oil, meaning it's less processed and I think it's better than these refined oils, soybean, corn, cottonseed. But I think there's better ones out there.

MELANIE: Definitely. And sunflower’s omega six.


MELANIE: And we like omega-threes for our eyes. So they're, they're sneaking it in everything now. Because it's very consumer confusing.


MELANIE: So if you can avoid the sunflower oil, some of these processed oils we're talking about, it's, it's key.

BRITNI: Yeah. It really is. So thinking about what foods are you eating that contain these refined oils? And I guarantee you don't even probably realize all the foods that you're eating that contain it. So check the ingredients on your mayonnaise, your bottled salad dressing. I mean, we, we are well intended to try to eat more real foods, but these refined oils sneak in everywhere. So it's a really, really good habit when you're purchasing something at the store, or if you've already purchased it and it's in your refrigerator, turn that label around, read the ingredients.

MELANIE: The ingredients are key. I think that's really, really important. And when you might be buying a salad in a restaurant, purchasing your meal, and you feel really righteous 'cause you ate a salad, but maybe just olive oil and vinegar would be a better option than whatever packaged, processed you know, ranch dressing or whatever they've got going on. 'Cause you can bet your bottom dollar, it's not made with olive oil or avocado oil.

And I know many of our longtime listeners have already switched away from soybean and canola oil and are buying mayo with avocado oil, and purchasing bottled salad dressing that's made with olive oil is, or avocado oil. So I applaud our listeners that have already made that switch.

I often ask clients who are experiencing health problems, I say, how can you eat to heal your health? Many times they already intuitively know what needs to change, but if it's for their eye health or osteoporosis or anxiety or even hot flashes, this is what we do. We help people gently shift that ship slowly so that it is going in a better healthy direction and help them swap this for that. So they don't have that deprivation brain.


MELANIE: They're just saying, well, this is a better one. And I have clients that say, well, I'm going to use up what I bought. I'm like, you know, food's expensive. I understand it. And then slowly swap this with that and that, that being the healthy choice.

BRITNI: And doing it that way feels a lot less overwhelming for people.

MELANIE: I agree.


MELANIE: A little at a time makes a big difference. Who says that? I think Teresa.

BRITNI: Mm. That, that is a really good way to, to think of it. And you know, labeling is made to be confusing. So there are mayonnaise brands out there, for instance, that says olive oil mayonnaise. So I know people buy it thinking, oh this is great. It's made with olive oil.

MELANIE: Liar, liar pants on fire.

BRITNI: Right. Yes.


BRITNI: So if you look at the ingredients, you know, ingredients are listed in order of abundance and you read that ingredient list, soybean oil is one of the first ingredients. Olive oil is one of the last ingredients. So they're adding a little bit of olive oil to a lot of soybean oil. And then they can put olive oil mayonnaise on, on the front of the packaging.

MELANIE: Those tricky little buggers.


MELANIE: We have to be food detectives anymore.


MELANIE: So this is what we're trying to help you to do, is to protect your health because their food is designed to make a profit for the manufacturers. It's not designed to help your health.


MELANIE: So, yeah.

More on the importance of DHA for eye health

BRITNI: You know, it is already time for our second break here. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. One of my favorite supplements I often recommend is the essential fatty acid, DHA. We talked about it a little bit earlier, and I often recommend supplementing DHA during pregnancy for brain development in the fetus. That is a key time to be including that DHA. I also recommend DHA for brain support for children. And again, brain support just for anybody: anxiety, any sort of brain condition. I also recommend DHA for eye health. It maximizes retinal function. We'll be right back.


MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. As I was preparing for this radio show on eye health, I read a report from the National Institute of Health called “Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acid on Eye Health”. Let me summarize. I picked out two sentences that I'd like to share, and one is, “The brain and eye are highly enriched with omega three fatty acids, which accumulate in the tissue. During the late fetal and early neonatal life, very high levels of DHA are present in the retina, especially in the disc membranes of the outer segment membranes.” This report continues to explain the importance of the fatty acid, DHA. Remember folks, organic egg yolk is a really inexpensive great source of DHA. Eat those eggs.

BRITNI: Fatty fish too.

MELANIE: Ooh, yes.


MELANIE: We love that salmon, sardines.


MELANIE: You know, and I, I challenge you listeners to try the sardines. They're not the sardines I grew up with that had the eyes staring at you when you open the can and the skin. They really are packed in olive oil; tastes like tuna.


MELANIE: But they're much higher in DHA.

More on refined oils & where they can sneak in

BRITNI: Yep. It's a great option. So before break we were talking about all the refined oils and, and that you really need to read the ingredient list of every product that you're purchasing, 'cause they sneak in everywhere. And I, I, you know, I think it is easy to avoid cooking with those foods, or maybe you've taken those refined oils out of your kitchen, which is great, but have you switched from picking up fast food with all those bad fats?


BRITNI: Or Chinese takeout or pizza delivery, or processed frozen meals that are also all full of those soybean oils and refined oils. They can damage your skin. Wrinkles can show up or damage the cell membranes of your eyes so disease can set in. You know, the cell membranes in your eyes should be flexible, but resistant to damage from free radicals.

MELANIE: Really good. If there's a window it's damaged fats: the end.


MELANIE: No food comes through a window.


MELANIE: And so if you're like, well, Melanie, what do we do? We, we have to eat out sometimes. Well, you know, it's, you can call restaurants and say, do, there are some restaurants that use clarified butter on their grill.


MELANIE: Yeah. So my husband and I visit a few, and that's where we eat.


MELANIE: I've even gone so far as to ask if they could use butter instead of oil on the grill, you know, for intolerance purposes. Well, restaurants, they're, they really work with you.

BRITNI: Great suggestions. And the reality is too, if you are eating real food at home and you're going out to eat once a week, that real food at home the majority of the time, it is really key to make your body resilient in case something sneaks in there.

MELANIE: Of course, because life.

BRITNI: You know, life happens.

MELANIE: I, I I'm harder on fast food simply because the oil is heated and heated and overheated and overheated. It's extremely damaged.


MELANIE: So no food comes through a window

BRITNI: And fast food, they really don't, they don't offer real food options.



MELANIE: No. I, yeah, I, there are some things, I remember reading something on a tater tot when my daughter worked in a fast food restaurant when she was young, much to her mother's sadness. But I read the label and there were 24 ingredients in the tots. So…

BRITNI: Oh my goodness.

How eye health is affected by healthy fats vs. refined oils

MELANIE: The cell membranes around each cell are made of fat. So natural fats such as butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, provide fats that make up cell membranes that support good vision. Fats from refined oils that are found in fast food and much of the takeout foods are from refined manmade oils: Franken fats, factory fats. Cell membranes from these fats are hard resistant to receiving messages and can cause that cell dysfunction. It's a whole little system that's going on there that's disrupted by these types of refined manmade fats.

BRITNI: Yeah, absolutely. And the use of these damaged fats, I mean, they really could be contributing to vision problems,

MELANIE: Which are on the rise. Right?

Food combination examples including eye health nutrients

BRITNI: Mm-hmm. Without a doubt. You know, these types of, or the fats that you eat really truly make a difference in your brain, your eye health, your blood vessels, heart health, bone health. You know, if you make a salad, you add red pepper, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, you've added a great source of vitamin C. Again, another antioxidant to protect your eyes from free radical damage.

And then instead, maybe instead of a bottled salad dressing; you can find some made with olive oil, but primarily most of them are soybean oil. Instead, you know, I love to just use olive oil and some balsamic vinegar.


BRITNI: And sometimes if I want it a little creamy, I'll also add a dollop of mayonnaise.


BRITNI: And stir that in there.

MELANIE: Or cottage cheese.

BRITNI: Ooh, that's a great idea too. And you get a little more protein in there. And on top of that you could add, you know, some nuts or seeds to your salad. And then that's a great source of vitamin E. You know, nuts, seeds, and avocados are all good sources of vitamin E, which helps to hydrate tissues, including the tissues of your eyes.

MELANIE: You know, I have a client and the salad dressing thing really frustrated her. She travels a lot. So her trick is she makes sure she always has avocado, lots of avocado on her salad, and she doubles it, and then she has salad dressing. And when she toss, toss, tosses, it ends up being an avocado, she adds vinegar. So it ends up being like an avocado vinegar dressing and it's creamy like she likes. And I thought, that's so brilliant.

BRITNI: That is a great idea.

MELANIE: Because avocado's trending. I feel like every restaurant has that avocado.

BRITNI: Oh, great idea for when you're eating out.

Zinc: an important eye nutrient

MELANIE: So you might be wondering what other important nutrients for eyes do you get from food? Zinc is an important immune nutrient, and it's also an important eye nutrient. Meat is a great source of zinc. And some of the most recent research recommends that people eat four to six ounces of protein at each meal, and that's cooked weight. So as a dietitian, I help clients determine how much protein each client needs for their personal health.

Personally, I feel better with five to six ounces at a meal. My system just works better. I feel better, I'm energized, clearer thought. And as we age, we actually need more protein per pound of body weight to prevent muscle and bone loss. So if you have eye problems, you might need more protein. So, and I'm not talking protein bars.

BRITNI: Yeah. Real protein.

MELANIE: So steer of those. There is no protein bar tree.

BRITNI: There's definitely not.

MELANIE: Eat the meat for the zinc it provides and possibly even an added supplement of zinc if you have a deficiency present. So that's where a nutritionist comes in.

Discussing more critical eye nutrients & food examples

BRITNI: And we've talked about lutein, zeaxanthin. Again, those are really critical eye nutrients for the retina. They're very well researched, and these are nutrients that our body doesn't make. So we need to get them from food sources. And we talked about eggs earlier being a really good source of lutein and zeaxanthin. You know, every time you fix and eat a salad with leafy green vegetables, kale, spinach, broccoli you're going to get more of those nutrients.

And we're talking a lot about salads, but, and it's, you know, warmer weather, so people are tending to eat more salads, but you could also sauté your greens with some butter and, and garlic. You could even add a splash of heavy cream at the end. Or just add these greens to soups that you're making or your eggs in the morning. You don't, it doesn't have to be a salad to get all of these important eye nutrients in your diet.

MELANIE: You know, I think I've mentioned before, and this isn't for everybody, but some days by the end, we were talking this morning, some days, by the end of the day, I am like, I have not done great with my vegetables. So I have frozen kale, I have frozen leafy greens, frozen raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and I will toss them in with water in my blender, blend, a splash of lemon juice, little stevia to sweeten, and I chug my salad because I just want to get her done.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah.

MELANIE: I don't want to sit and chop and make salad. So I have those leafy greens frozen all the time and think, how am I doing? How'd I do today?

BRITNI: Great idea. And if you do make a smoothie on a daily basis, you could just proactively throw those greens into your smoothie.

MELANIE: Yeah. Always trying to bump up those vegetables. But that splash of lemon juice makes it taste a little less like earth.

BRITNI: Great tip. You know, we are talking about all these real food sources, but on the flip side, a fast food burger with French fries, it's not going to have these nutrients to offer. And like we talked about earlier, it's going to have those refined oils. And as you mentioned, Melanie, the fryers at fast food restaurants, they are reusing those oils over and over again, which create more and more damage, become even more unhealthy for our bodies.

MELANIE: So just think of it dunking in, every time they drop food into that fryer, it's just inflammation, eye damage, cancer risk.

BRITNI: Yes. Yep.

MELANIE: Fluid that they're dunking your food in.

BRITNI: You know, you could make your own; chop; I do this a lot with potatoes, sweet potatoes, chop them up at home. If you have an air fryer, throw them in your air fryer or just bake them.


BRITNI: They're delicious. And then you, you can control what oil you use on top. Avocado oil works well because it you can use it for higher heats.

MELANIE: And coconut oil is great on sweet potatoes.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yes. The, I mean, the challenge is to believe what you put in your mouth makes a difference in your vision. And, you know, I recently had somebody, a client who has made these changes gradually, and it wasn't to eat real food. And her goal was not necessarily to improve her eye health, but she recently had an eye exam and her vision improved.

MELANIE: Just from eating real food.

BRITNI: Just from eating real food.

MELANIE: That's fantastic.

BRITNI: Yeah. Isn't that amazing?

MELANIE: Yes. I love those stories.


MELANIE: Improve your vision.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's pretty cool.

High blood sugar increases growth of cataracts

MELANIE: Well, here's an interesting statistic. Every day there are 60,000 cataract surgeries. It is such a common surgery. But it, you know, it's still a surgery. And rather than surgery, I want to explore what we can do to avoid surgeries altogether. No one loves to go under that knife. So what does make cataracts, what does? There's certain things that can make your cataracts grow faster if you have them. Well, for starters, having high blood sugar or glucose levels can increase the growth of cataracts. I think we touched on that before. I want to talk some more about that when we come right back.

BRITNI: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. In about a month, actually the week of September 12th, we are offering our 12-week Nutrition for Weight Loss classes in person or Zoom. So if summer has gotten you off track, these Nutrition for Weight Loss classes will help you to recommit to your health. Starting the week of September 12th and by the first part of December, you will be ready to enjoy the holidays feeling better. Sign up now to make the commitment and save your place. You can sign up online or call us at (651) 699-3438. We will be right back.

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MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Nutrition, what you eat affects every part of your body and brain, including your eyes. And next week, Britni and I will be discussing ways to feed your children for better school success. That was a fun one. A good breakfast of eggs, one slice of toast covered in butter or cream cheese will make a difference and better focus more energy, positive moods and a happier student. That was a fun radio show to put together. I'm excited to do it with you.


More on cataracts: what can increase cataract growth?

MELANIE: So when we went to break, we were talking about what makes cataracts grow faster. Well, for starters, of course, high blood sugar or glucose levels can increase the growth of cataracts. Eating foods higher in sugar and processed carbohydrates can lead to more cataract growth. Sugar can cause that free radical damage, which in turn causes tissue damage even in your eyes. So certainly smoking is a free radical and causes a lot of damage, but so does excess alcohol.

Dr. Daniel Amen, author of many books on mental health and a well-known psychiatrist, recommends no alcohol at all for women. He also shares this statement that alcohol is not a health food. And I don't think our listeners are surprised at that. But alcohol is certainly not great for eye health, and for better eye health and vision, as a dietitian, I usually recommend eating real food to have a constant source of those key nutrients that Britni was talking about. And the more nutrients, the better chances of great vision, healthy peepers, and maybe even some improvement over time like your client.

Eating real food is healing for all aspects of the body

BRITNI: You know, the beauty of eating real food is it's helping everything. So it's not like we need a specific diet for your eye health.


BRITNI: Or for your joints. Everything, you know, it's all going to generally improve from eating real food. It's wonderful.

MELANIE: And a client might come in and say, well, I'm not having that vision improvement like your client. But if we go through all the symptoms that she's stopped having because of eating real food, then she's like, oh the body is healing.

BRITNI: Yep. Yep. And it takes time to heal. You know, sometimes I remind my clients if it's taken a long time for you to develop the habits you have or to create the damage in the body. So it's going to take a long time to heal. It's not necessarily this overnight situation. However, people do generally notice improvements in energy and mood fairly quickly.

MELANIE: Or pain, pain decreasing.


MELANIE: You know, if we think of it like we're turning a cruise ship. We're not turning a Honda.


MELANIE: So it takes that little change by little change, and slowly that big cruise ship begins to change course. And we have to be patient with ourselves. We didn't get here overnight. We're not going to change it overnight.

BRITNI: That's a good visual.

More on key eye nutrients

MELANIE: And, you know, medicine a lot of times can mask symptoms and help us feel better, but what we really want is to not only stop the damage, but start healing the body. And you know, the age-related eye, there was an age-related eye disease study, a clinical trial concluded in 2001 that was sponsored by the National Eye Institute that found a poor diet was a major risk factor for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. I love that because it proves our, our point.

So consuming key nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and zinc were all found significantly to lower people's risk. So making them great weapons against losing eyesight, degenerating eyesight. It's a big deal.

BRITNI: You know, you mentioned macular degeneration. That reminded me of a client. And she had, when I started seeing her, she had pretty severe macular degeneration. And she had to have treatments on a, on a very regular basis, but she ended up taking that Nutrition for Weight Loss course and then meeting with me on a regular basis. And through again, eating real food, she was able to go longer in between her macular degeneration treatments.

MELANIE: Oh, I love that.

BRITNI: Pretty amazing.


BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. So again, it can, it can make a huge difference with your eye health. And then we're talking a lot about specific nutrients, but if you are eating a real food diet, getting a variety of protein, variety of healthy fats, variety of vegetables, some fruit in the mix, you're naturally hitting on all of these key nutrients that we're talking about. I I mentioned variety. Variety is…


BRITNI: Yeah, it is.

MELANIE: I mean, we live in a, you know, a wonderful country where we can have strawberries every day no matter the season. And we can, you know, focus on broccoli every day, but I challenge you listeners, go to the grocery store. Look at things you have not eaten before. Maybe you've never had jicama. Maybe you've, you know, you never had turnips. And get that variety because the variety is going to have different macro and micronutrients to not only fuel the body with a variety of those nutrients, but also a variety to feed the microbiome, which in turn helps your health.

So when my children were small, we had an activity in the grocery store.  We called it you know, stump the grocer, and they would get a quarter every time they'd pick a fruit or vegetable to try that the clerk had to look up because they weren't familiar with it. And then my, my daughter got a quarter.

BRITNI: That's fun.

MELANIE: It opened their palate up, but also it gives them a variety. And so they'll now, as adults, they'll pretty much go anywhere, eat anything.


MELANIE: Yeah. So it was fun. It was a fun way to get that variety. So that's my challenge to our listeners is go to the grocery store where they have a big variety of vegetables and say, what haven't I tried?

BRITNI: And then it makes you food more exciting too.


BRITNI: Yeah. Which is important.

MELANIE: Yeah. I think that's a big deal. Well, it's been estimated that more than half of adults suffer from some sort of cataracts by the time they're 80. So anti, these anti-inflammatory foods and those high antioxidant foods are preventative effects against those, that eye related disease. So we want to offset it before we hit there, and, and we're struggling with the way that we are able to see.

A few more examples of ways to incorporate nutrient dense foods

BRITNI: Yeah. So what, you know, we're talking about all these key nutrients. What else could we incorporate? What other types of foods, you know, what comes to mind? I, I alluded to soups earlier. I mean, that's a really easy way to add your protein in there. Get a variety of nutrients through the vegetables and, you know, you could add sweet potato in your soup. Or maybe wild rice.

MELANIE: A fish chowder.

BRITNI: Ooh yes.

MELANIE: Where you're putting some salmon in there, or some shrimp or some crab legs or something. Get some a variety.

BRITNI: Great idea. And we have some wonderful recipes on our website, And then there's a tab that you click recipes.



MELANIE: And then when you're adding that seafood, or you're adding that protein to your soups, you're adding the zinc that we were talking about, which is key. You know, oysters, beef, lobster, pork, yogurt, salmon, eggs, all wonderful sources of protein, which we started the show talking about how important that protein is. So look and see how much protein you eat today, listeners. Are you getting enough? Do you have a variety of color on the plate? Half your plate should be some sort of vegetable. And then fill in with that four to five ounces, six ounces even of protein to get it kind of that perfect plate. So our goal and Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing. Thanks for joining Britni and I today.

BRITINI: Thank you.

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