Fall brings with it a rich harvest of season-fresh fruits and vegetables, and whipping up delicious autumn salads is not just cheaper, tastier and good for overall health – it has a tremendous impact on the wellbeing of your eyes too.
The eyes are vascular organs, and adding lots of seasonal, local produce to your daily diet — that are rich in antioxidants, low in trans and saturated fats and at the peak of their nutritional value — protects the eyes from a variety of vision-related problems.
Here’s a list of 10 Fall salad ingredients, accompanied with a super-simple recipe, that will add a delicious autumn twist to your daily meal planning. And keep you eating your way to good health and good vision as the year draws to a close:
Classified as a superfood, and loaded with Vitamin C, E and A, brussels sprouts also act as “nature’s sunglasses” – protecting the eyes from damaging UV rays of the sun with great quantities of essential carotenoids like Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad
• Brussels Sprouts — 1 pound
• Smoked Almonds — 2 cups (slivered)
• Dried cranberries – 3 cups (chopped)
• Shredded Parmesan Cheese – ½ cup
• Honey Mustard Dressing
• Shred the sprouts as thinly as possible. Sprinkle in the almonds, cranberries, and Parmesan cheese. Add the honey mustard dressing. Toss and serve.
Part of the cruciferous veggie family and a close cousin of broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts, kale is nutritionally dense with health-enhancing attributes. It is packed with the two vision-protection carotenoids, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which absorb retina-harming blue light, and help our eyes detect contrast better. Soak up more of these two fat-soluble carotenoids by preparing kale in olive oil.
Kale, Cheddar And Apple Salad
• Fresh Kale – 4 cups (chopped)
• Toasted Almonds – 2 tablespoons (coarsely chopped)
• Apple – 1 (diced)
• Cheddar Cheese – 1 ounce (diced)
• Lemon Juice – 2 tablespoons
• Garlic Clove – 1 (mashed)
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 6 tablespoons
• Parmesan Cheese – 2 tablespoons (grated)
• Salt to taste
• In a large bowl, combine the kale, almonds, apple and cheddar. Mix the lemon juice with garlic, olive oil and salt. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top and serve.
Besides whiter teeth, weight loss, diabetes control, liver detox and a host of other body and beauty benefits, autumn-ripe apples reduce risks of cataracts by 10-15 per cent, improve night vision and prevent weak eyesight conditions from worsening.
Apple Slaw With Parsley And Fennel Heads
• Apple – 3 (any tart variety, matchsticked)
• Small Head Fennel – 2 (matchsticked)
• Red Onion – 1 (small, thinly-sliced)
• Fresh Parsely – 2 tablespoons (finely chopped)
• Lemon Juice – 2 tablespoons
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil – ¼ cup
• Salt to taste
• Place the thinly-sliced apples in a large bowl and mix with lemon juice to keep them from browning. Add all the remaining ingredient and toss well. Let it stand for about 20 minutes before serving.
Always try to buy locally-produced and freshly-harvested cauliflower, because this autumn vegetable starts to lose a lot of its vision-enhancing nutrients like Vitamin C if its been sitting in a grocery store shelf for too long. (Same goes for ready-to-cook frozen caulifower florets.) As a member of the cruciferous family, cauliflowers are replete in carotenoids that are essential for eyesight maintenance and vision improvement.
Lemony Roast Cauliflower Salad
• Cauliflower – 1 large
• Parmesan Cheese – ½ cup
• Dried Cranberries – ¼ cup
• Toasted Almonds – 2 tablespoons (sliced)
• Olive Oil – ¼ cup
• Lemon Dressing – 9 tablespoons
• Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Slice up the caulifower into bite-size florets, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place cauliflower florets on the baking sheet, and roast for about 45 minutes until they turn golden brown. Transfer the cooked cauliflower into a bowl and add Parmesan cheese, dried cranberries and toasted almonds. Add the lemon dressing, toss thoroughly and serve.
Turnips are a phenomenal source of Vitamin C. For a daily vision diet, eating just 2 medium-sized turnips will meet your Vitamin C requirement for the entire day! As with all cruciferous produce that are richest in carotenoids during Fall, turnips are best eaten freshly-picked and in season.
Turnip Prosciutto And Fresh Arugula Salad
• Turnips – 4 (sliced into extremely thin rounds)
• Proscuitto – 4 ounces (hand-shredded)
• Fresh Arugula – 8 cups
• Red Wine Vinegar – 4 teaspoons
• Honey – 2 teaspoons
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil – ¼ cup
• Salt to taste
• Combine the thin turnip rounds, arugula and prosciutto in a large bowl. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together to make a dressing. Add to the turnips, toss well, and serve.
Also known as “bounceberries” (because they bounce when they are ripe), crannies are one of the few fruits that are natively born in North American soil. The fruit is probably best known for its bacteria-fighting abilities in the urinary tract, but they also significantly improve symptoms of macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
Fresh Cranberry Sweet Salad With Marshmallows
• Fresh Cranberries – 1 pound
• Miniature Marshmallows – 8 ounces
• Crushed Pineapples – 1 can (20 ounce)
• Banana – 1 (sliced)
• (Unsweetened) Whipped Cream – 1 cup
• White sugar – 2 cups
• Coarsely grind the fresh cranberries in a blender. Mix the marshmallow, pineapple and sugar with the cranberries in a large bowl. Keep this mix in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, add the sliced banana and whipped cream before serving.
When buying broccoli, select compact clusters of the florets. Open, yellow-flecked florets hint at their lack of freshness, and there’s no reason you should buy aging broccoli in autumn, when they’re at their nutritional peak. Yet another member of the cruciferous veggie family, this vision-improving powerfood carries precious nutrients in its flower heads, as well as in its leaves and stalks.
Bacon Broccoli Salad
• Large-head broccoli – 1 (separated into bite-sized florets)
• Bacon – 12 slices (cooked and shredded)
• Red Onion – 1 (small, chopped)
• Raisins – 1 cup
• Red Wine Vinegar – 3 tablespoons
• Mayonnaise – ½ cup
• White Sugar – 1/3 cup
• Sunflower Seeds – ¼ cup
• Mix the broccoli florets, onion, bacon, raisins, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Take a separate bowl to whisk mayonnaise, red wine vinegar and sugar to make a smooth dressing. Stir this dressing into the broccoli and serve.
Rich in Vitamin A, beta-carotene and potassium, all of which promote good eye health, sweet potatoes also work externally as an organic beauty aid. Place 2 slices of sweet potatoes to reduce wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles around the eyes.
Autumn Sweet Potato And Shallot Salad
• Sweet Potatoes – 2 pounds (peeled and diced)
• Shallots – 2 (finely chopped)
• Spring Onion – 4 (finely sliced)
• Chives – 1 small bunch
• Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons
• Sherry Vinegar – 5 tablespoons
• Honey – 2 tablespoons
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Toss the diced sweet potato in olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and then spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven, set at 400 F, for about 30 minutes, and then cool to room temperature. Mix the rest of the ingredients, and toss with the sweet potatoes, making sure the pieces do not break.
While pumpkins are gloriously in season, eat at least one cup of the squash veggie to receive almost twice the required daily intake of Vitamin A, promoting good eyesight and dim-light vision. Pumpkin is also known to slow the decline of retinal function in people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa.
Pumpkin And Chickpea Salad
• Butternut Pumpkin – 2 pounds (peeled, de-seeded and diced)
• Chickpeas (Garbanzo) – 1 can (drained and rinsed)
• Dessert Figs – 6 (finely chopped)
• Red Onion – 1 (thinly sliced)
• Fresh Cilantro leaves – ½ cup (chopped)
• Ground Cumin – 1 teaspoon
• Ground Coriander – 1 teaspoon
• Lemon – 1 (juiced)
• Olive Oil – 1/3 cup
• Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a large roasting pan. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, ground coriander, ground cumin, and salt to the diced pumpkin, and transfer to the prepared pan. Roast for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Mix the roasted pumpkin with the chickpeas, figs, onion and chopped cilantro leaves in a large bowl. Combine the remaining oil, lemon juice and salt, and drizzle over the pumpkin. Toss well, and serve.
Chinese Long Beans
Fall is the season to buy bunches of fresh, flexible Chinese long beans that are blemish-free, bright in color and loaded with nutritional goodness that help in maintaining optimum eye health. An excellent source of Vitamin A, and antioxidants like Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
Chinese Long Bean And Peanut Salad
• Chinese Long Beans – 1 bunch, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces.
• Roasted Peanuts – 3 tablespoons (chopped)
• Shallots – 3 (sliced and pre-fried)
• Shallots – 2 (sliced)
• Garlic – 4 cloves (sliced and fried)
• Toasted Sesame Seeds – 1 tablespoon
• Peanut Oil – 1 tablespoon
• Coarse Sea Salt – to taste
• Cook the beans in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes until semi-tender. Cool quickly (plunge in cold, ice water) and pat dry. Toss the beans with the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt, and serve.