Buying Nutritious Foods

In Feeding Your Eyes I discussed how foods affect the health of your eyes.

Start buying nutritious foods and getting into the habit of eating as many servings of fruit and vegetables as you can every day. And begin to reduce the amount of fatty foods you eat. You’ll give your heart a break, and help protect your eyesight.

Fresh Means More Nutritious

Buying nutritious foods means buying as fresh as you can find. If there is a farmers’ market in your community, you’ll find foods that were picked that day, or the day before.

If there’s no farmers’ market, try a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Also known as a community shared agriculture program in Canada, these programs provide you with a fresh box of vegetables (and sometimes fruit) every week during the harvest season.

You pay for your portion at the beginning of the growing season and share in the bounty of the farm. You’ll be helping the farmer avoid having to borrow money to start the season, and in return, you’ll receive the freshest food possible.

Buy Organic Produce If It's Available

I recommend that you purchase organically grown produce whenever possible, for two reasons.

First, organic farmers nourish the soil, which leads to increased levels of nutrients in the foods they sell to you.

Second, these foods have almost no pesticide residues that can accumulate in your body and possibly cause health problems for you. (I say “almost no” because with pesticides travelling large distances on the wind and in our water, there is nowhere on the planet now that has not been exposed to toxins.)

However, please remember, it’s better to eat enough servings of conventionally grown fruit and vegetables than to eat too few servings of organic produce because you can’t afford the extra cost or because organic foods are unavailable in your area.

Ripe, But Not Too Ripe!

Don’t buy fruit and vegetables that are deteriorating — molds, rot, overly mushy, starting to flower (for example, broccoli) — as decomposing organic matter is full of free radicals, just the molecules you’re looking to avoid.

Buy them as ripe as you need them in order to eat them before they go bad. Remember that all fruit except strawberries will ripen after being picked.

However, fruit that is picked too soon is often lacking in vitamins and minerals, as these increase as the produce ripens or comes closer to maturity. This is another good reason to eat locally grown produce, which is picked much closer to being ripe.

If you start buying nutritious foods today, you'll start receiving the antioxidants, vitamins and carotenoids you need to protect your eyesight — today!