HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — May is National Egg Month and for good reason — eggs provide nutrients that benefit our whole body at all life stages. It’s also Healthy Vision Month.
To celebrate, Registered Dietitian Rima Kleiner is here from NC Egg Association to talk all things eggs, including how they help keep our eyes healthy.
- Beta-carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes) is important for eye health, but there are other nutrients that are crucial to keeping our eyes healthy now and as we age.
- Some of the other important nutrients for eye health — and foods where we find these nutrients — are vitamin C (kiwi, strawberries and red peppers), vitamin E (avocados and almonds), omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish) and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (dark leafy greens, broccoli and eggs).
- These antioxidants — lutein and zeaxanthin — are carotenoids (like beta-carotene) but uniquely important for eye health. Only these two carotenoids are selectively taken up into the macula (the central area at the back of the eye) and make up the macular pigment, which provides the sharp central vision we need for daily activities — like reading and driving.
- Another benefit of lutein and zeaxanthin is that they help to filter or screen out damaging blue light from the sun AND from electronic devices. Years and years of blue light exposure can damage our macula and lead to age-related macular degeneration or even blindness.
- The bottom line is that eye protection should start early in life and one of my favorite foods to help protect our eyes—by providing lutein and zeaxanthin—is eggs.
- Plus, these two antioxidant carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning that we need to consume them with fat to help increase absorption… the egg yolk provides that fat, so we want to eat the whole egg!
- And since it’s also National Egg Month, super-easy egg recipes that are perfect for toting along to the pool or cookouts and will keep our eyes healthy this summer, especially from that damaging UV light. (SEE PROPS BELOW)
- Eggs are a perfect summer protein because they can be so portable. Plus, eggs also provide B vitamins (for energy), selenium (for a healthy immune system) and choline (for brain health)… all in a low-calorie portable package (1 egg provides 6 grams of complete protein 70 kcal).
- And one more reason eggs make a perfect summer protein—they are sustainable. NC Egg Farmers work hard to take good care of their hens, communities and our land—in fact, they have achieved a 71 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. And resources required for egg farming have gone down by about 1/3 of the resources needed for eggs 50 years ago. This is great because North Carolina is home to 9 million laying hens that lay more than 7.5 million eggs every day! If you want to learn more about the NC Egg Farmers or for more egg recipes, visit North Carolina Egg online.
Salad Nicoise Lettuce Cups
- 12 romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
- 1 (5-oz.) can of solid white tuna, drained
- 1 (3-oz.) can of solid white tuna, drained
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 12 pitted kalamata olives, sliced
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
- Arrange 3 lettuce leaves on 4 servings plates.
- Divide tuna, tomatoes, olives and eggs evenly among plates.
- Sprinkle with cheese and serve with Caesar or other favorite dressing.
Mexican Street Corn Egg Salad
- 8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 3 Tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp. Tex-Mex seasoning
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup corn kernels (thawed from frozen, microwaved)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
- Green onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, divided
- ½ cup queso blanco or feta cheese
- 1 bag tortilla chips
- Combine eggs, yogurt, mayo, lime juice and seasonings.
- Stir in corn, jalapeno, red pepper, green onions and 2 Tbsp. cilantro. Transfer to a bowl.
- Sprinkle with feta or queso blanco, garnish with remaining cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.
Veggie Egg Pops
- 3 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 stalk celery
- 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
- ½ cup desired prepared dips (guacamole, hummus, tzatziki, ranch)
- Cut carrots in half lengthwise; cut into 4-inch lengths.
- Cut celery stalk in half lengthwise; trim into 4-inch lengths.
- Insert carrot and celery sticks into wide end of each egg. Dip into desired dips