Nutrition Blog

The EWG Just Released Their Dirty Dozen List of the Most Contaminated Produce and Kale Is Shockingly High


Before you go home and throw out all your uneaten kale, let's just pump the breaks.

6 Really Good Things That Happen to Your Body When You Quit Sugar


Want lasting energy? Less belly fat? Younger-looking skin? Of course you do! Here's all the motivation you need to break up with the sweet stuff.

For Healthy Eyes, Think Broccoli and Kale, Not Carrots


I was asked to appear on television this week to talk about foods you can eat to help save your sight.  It’s something I'm very interested in, as I come from a family with a strong history of cataracts and eye disorders and have worn contacts since I can remember. In fact, I blogged about this a few months ago, after getting some good advice from my opthamologist. Now I'd like to revisit the topic, with a few more specific recommendations.

No. 1 threat to our vision: AMD
As we age, the chances that we will suffer from an eye disorder increase significantly. By age 65, one in three adults will have a vision-impairing condition, and by age 80 that percentage rises to half of us. Many conditions are preventable and can be treated, but others lead to blindness.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among Americans over age 55. AMD is the breakdown of the macula—the small area in the retina at the back of the eye. It’s estimated that by age 75, some 30% will be afflicted with AMD. Oxidative damage—from sunlight, smoking, or everyday contaminants in the environment—are thought to stimulate the disease, which is why antioxidants are part of the preventive solution.

Research over the past few decades shows that eye health is linked to diet and lifestyle. Being overweight, smoking, having diabetes, eating a high-fat diet, excessive alcohol consumption, and low fruit and vegetable intake all increase the risk of eye diseases.

So what should we eat?
While we all learned that carrots are important for our eyes, there’s actually more evidence that other veggies have even bigger impacts on our peepers: Specifically, green- and yellow-hued foods have been shown to be more effective at reducing risk for macular degeneration and cataracts than orange ones.

Why does color matter? Because green and yellow fruits and vegetables are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that seem to protect the retina against oxidative damage and decrease risk for AMD. (The mineral zinc, and other antioxidants, such as beta carotene, have also been shown in some studies to provide protection against AMD.)

Some of the most absorbent forms of lutein and zeaxanthin are found in foods containing fats, such as egg yolks, pistachios, and avocados. Corn, spinach, squash, collard greens, kale, tomato products, and lettuces are also good sources.

While there is no current recommended intake for lutein+zeaxanthin (they're often grouped together in nutrient labels), eating the recommended five to eight servings of fruits and veggies a day will help ensure that you get enough. If you have a strong family history of eye diseases, talk to your ophthalmologist about whether you should also consider a dietary supplement with these important nutrients. Read my previous post for more healthy vision tips, and use this chart to start making eye-friendly choices today.


Food Micrograms, Lutein and Zeaxanthin per serving
Avocado, 1 ounce 77
Egg, 1 large 166
Pistachios, 1 ounce 342
Green beans, 1 cup 595
Green leaf lettuce, 1 cup 969
Romaine lettuce, 1 cup 1,295
Brussels sprouts, 1 cup 2,015
Broccoli, 1 cup 2,015
Corn, 1 cup 2,429
Summer squash, 1 cup 4,048
Collard greens, 1 cup 14,619
Kale, 1 cup 23,720
Spinach, 1 cup 29,811

(Chart based on numbers from the USDA National Nutrient Database.)

By Julie Upton, RD

A Harvard Professor Called Coconut Oil ‘Pure Poison’—Here’s What You Need to Know  


Our nutritionist explains everything you've ever wondered about coconut oil.

8 Alcoholic Drinks Ranked From Most Calories to Least


Wine? Beer? Mixed drink? Here’s our guide to choosing the healthiest sips at holiday parties.

5 Amazing Health Benefits of Avocado


Avocado is one of the most delicious and satisfying foods on the planet–and it's also a powerhouse superfood.

Vegetarian Makeover: Why This Meat-Lover is Taking the Plunge


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For the next 31 days I have decided to go meatless. This decision did not happen overnight, nor was it because Food, Inc. finally converted me.

I grew up eating meat and loved it. It was a staple in my Portuguese and Peruvian household, and I ate everything on my plate including fish, sausage, liver, chicken hearts, beef, and tripe, which for the blissfully unaware, is the stomach lining of cows (I know, gross!).

During my teen years I started to have an uncomfortable feeling whenever I saw my mom prepare and cook red meat, enough that I asked her to substitute with poultry whenever possible. When I entered my twenties, biting into a chicken thigh or leg and seeing a vein seemed so gross that I started to eat just chicken breast or ground turkey to avoid seeing any reminder of a living animal on my plate.

At the same time, I was reading books and movies about the cruelties that factory farm animals go through to get to my dinner plate--although not even the Alec Baldwin narrative on Meet your Meat could change my mind permanently. So what finally made me consider a vegetarian diet? My dog.

Yep, you read that right. For me the final puzzle piece was getting my first dog, and realizing other cultures might consider her meat a delicious treat. Then I came across this quote “Why love one and eat the other?” and it finally hit me more emotionally.

It’s been a very slow process for me and I do have some concerns: Where will I get my protein if I am no longer eating meat? Should I be taking supplements? Will I over rely on carbs for my meals? How do I plan my nights out with friends? Will I get bored with vegetables and salads?

Hopefully I will be adding more vegetables and fruits to my diet, rather than ending up with too many carb-loaded meals and Oreo splurges. (Oreos are vegan, who knew?)

The next 31 days are an experiment for me, to see if I can be a vegetarian for the rest of my life. To that end, I will write about my favorite weekly recipes, what worked, what didn’t work, and how I am feeling. And hopefully, there will be some glowier skin in my future, too.



The A-to-Z Guide to Vitamins


7 Things You Should Know About Matcha


This form of green tea is getting a lot of buzz.

6 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds


These nutrition facts will make you want to carve a Jack O' Lantern.

When You Eat Really Does Make a Difference—Here's Why


Whether you’re trying to lose weight or boost overall health, when you eat matters.

5 Superfood Carbs You're Probably Missing on the Keto Diet


Following the low-carb diet often means cutting out high-quality carbs like whole grains and fruit.

7 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes


These nutritional all-stars can help improve your immunity, blood pressure, and more.

The Scandi Sense Diet Is Supposed to Be the Simplest Diet in the World—Here’s What a Nutritionist Thinks


On the plan you measure your portions in handfuls. 

What This Mom Learned About Food Culture in America After Her Baby Stopped Eating


Virginia-Sole Smith’s new book asks the question, “What does it mean to learn to eat, in a world that’s telling us not to eat?”

5 Health Benefits of Blackberries (Including the Frozen Kind)


Here are a few excellent reasons to enjoy the berries all year round.

9 Things to Know Before Buying Another Supplement


Our buyer's guide can help you avoid sketchy ingredients and choose the most established, trusted brands.

Two New Studies Make the Case for Feeding Kids Cow’s Milk and Eggs


Both foods can be high-quality, low-cost sources of protein and other nutrients during a crucial period of child development.

You Can Now Snort Chocolate, But Doctors Aren't Happy About It


Health experts worry that Coco Loko, the new snortable cacao powder, could lead to overdoses and have dangerous side effects. 

Eating Too Many Burgers Could Make a Breast Cancer Diagnosis More Dangerous


It may also raise your risk for a common inflammatory bowel condition. Two new studies provide more motivation to cut back on red meat.

Kids Are Eating Healthier, But There's Still Room for Improvement


A decrease in empty calories (like sugary beverages) has helped, but many more changes are still needed.

The 13 Biggest Nutrition Discoveries of 2016


Science taught us a lot about what's healthy and what's not this year. Read on for the most important foodie findings of 2016.