A child’s eye health commences as an infant and continues throughout his ot her childhood. According to Johns University School of Medicine professor of pediatrics and ophthalmology, Dr. Michael Repka, children’s eyes should be examined regularly by a pediatrician, when they are six months, three years of age, and before they start first grade, usually at age seven. What are the kinds of healthy recipes that are best for children’s eyes? According to the article, “Transitions Healthy Sight Survey,” published in June 2009, foods that contain sulfur, like eggs which have lecithin, zeaxanthin, carotenoids, and cysteine, are some of the best kinds of food to give children to maintain eye health.
The mentioned nutrients in eggs help prevent cataract formation, and don’t think that cataracts develop only in older people. Children may be susceptible to acquisition of cataracts under some circumstances, generally hereditary in nature. The addition of vitamin C in the form of orange or carrot juice, combined with the lecithin, sulfur, and cysteine in eggs, make up healthy meals for children, particularly for their eye health, because these foods all contain a key anti-oxidant of one type or another. Anti-oxidants eliminate the cancer-causing free radicals that could potentially cause damage to children’s eyes.
Preventing Macular Degeneration, Cataracts and Glaucoma in Children
Most children’s meals contain a lot of unhealthy fats like those found in fast food. Diets high in fat can significantly increase the risk of developing macular degeneration, a medical condition not exclusive to older people. Burgers, chicken nuggets, French fries, and doughnuts all contain excessively large amounts of trans fats from all the deep frying they are subjected to during cooking time. The interesting thing is, although trans fats increase susceptibility to heart diseases, intake of good (polyunsaturated) fats protects against heart diseases but not against macular degeneration!
Starting out children on diets which are dominated by pork, lamb, and beef as main dishes increase macular degeneration risk. More than one serving a week of red meat can increase this risk by 35%. Margarine also increases this risk, and even a single serving of dairy foods high in fats – full cream or whole milk, butter, and hard types of cheeses – can speed up the progression of macular degeneration by as much as 1.91 times. Other foods that can raise the development of macular degeneration in children are hotdogs, bacon, hamburgers, processed meats (by as much as 2.09 times) and commercially-produced baked goods like cakes, pies and cookies, and potato chips (by as much as 2.42 times).
Vitamins and Minerals that Help Safeguard Children’s Eye Health
Number one on the list of foods that contain vitamins protective of children’s eye health is vitamin C which can be obtained from a wide range of fruits, notably papaya, guavas, raspberries, honeydew melons, lychees, strawberries, kiwifruit, grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, cantaloupe, and pineapples, among those with the highest vitamin C content. Vegetables rich in vitamin C include sweet red and green peppers, plums, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, peaches, artichokes, carrots, red grapes, broccoli, turnip greens, cauliflower, and tomatoes in juice form. With this wide selection of vitamin C-loaded fruits and vegetables, mothers can cook so many healthy food recipes which will nourish their children.
Magnesium, vitamin E, selenium, and Omega-3 essential amino acids in nuts like almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and hazelnuts also help maintain children’s eye health. The zinc in seafoods, especially oysters which has more zinc than any other seafood, when combined with vitamin C, also does a good job of protecting children’s health against medical conditions hazardous to their eyes. Zinc is a key component of enzymes that produce retinal that senses light in the eyesight. Zinc also helps in the prevention of poor vision at night, glaucoma and other degenerative eye conditions.
Healthy Meals Ensure Children’s Healthy Eyes
Pressure inside children’s eyes will cause a build-up of fluid that can lead to glaucoma. This pressure is usually the result of reading in poorly-lighted conditions, watching television and being at the computer for long periods of time without sufficient lighting, and going outdoors without appropriate eye protection.
Children need their eyesight cared for, nourished and protected. Impaired vision in children results in poor performance in school academically, and at play socially. The best way to ensure this is to take the time to prepare meals made from foods which contain the essential minerals, nutrients, and vitamins.