“Spice it up” is not the advice most people would expect to hear from an eye expert when it comes to living life—particularly in the kitchen. Sandra Young, OD, however, enthusiastically encourages people to consider their eye health when cooking. Her newest book, Heal Your Dry Eyes, which is scheduled to be released soon in an e-format, is all about cooking with dry eyes in mind.
Dr. Young has a keen interest in how diet and nutrition affect ocular health. Her first book, Visionary Kitchen: A Cookbook for Eye Health, featured tantalizing photos and recipes that included eye nutrients. For her second book, she decided to focus on dry eyes.
There are many underlying causes of dry, irritated eyes including hormonal imbalances, medications, diabetes, allergies and arthritis. The one common factor in dry eye is ocular surface inflammation. Proper nutrition can help to modulate both ocular and systemic inflammation, she says. The recipes in Heal Your Dry Eyes are designed to reduce ocular surface inflammation and to improve tear composition and production. “It is preventive medicine,” says Dr. Young.
The eye nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin are found in leafy green vegetables and egg yolks; EPA/DHA omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty cold-water fish. Studies have shown these nutrients decrease the risk for progression of age-related macular degeneration. Omega 3s help to modulate inflammation related to other ocular issues.
Here’s a bit of advice that Dr. Young offers to today’s generation: “Set up your kitchen pantry for healthful food choices. Avoid prepackaged foods, and preplan meals for the week. The kitchen should be a happy place for friends and family to gather to create
food that is nourishing for heart, eyes and soul.”
Writing has become her full-time job. She calls the combination of creative science writing and the book business “quite the undertaking.” What’s next for Dr. Young? A book for children: Visionary Kids in the Kitchen followed by a book about her other passion—golf. This year, she hopes to qualify for the first-ever U.S. Senior Women’s Open. “The competition is stiff, and I began playing golf at age 38, which is much later in life than most other participants. For me, qualifying is winning!” she says. She has already identified the title of a future book: Use Your Eyes: Vision Led Putting.
Italian Dipping Sauce
3 T Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
1 T mixed Italian herbs, dried
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T Parmesan OR Romano cheese, finely grated
2 T sundried tomatoes, minced (optional)
1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
Nutritional facts per serving: calories 99kcals; total fat 9.2g; saturated fat 1.3g; cholesterol 0mg; sodium 225mg; total carbohydrates 3g; dietary fiber 0g; sugars 2g; protein 1g; vitamin A 3%*; calcium 3%*; vitamin C 4%*; iron 2%*
Dry eye support: vitamin A, beta carotene, lycopene, lutein+zeaxanthin; vitamins E, K; phytonutrients: eugenol, apigenin, allicin, benfotiamine, rosmarinic acid, thymol