Bell peppers, who knew they were so darn good for us? Lutein and Zeaxanthin are naturally occurring pigments in many vegetables, and are also an integral component of Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD). The layer of the macula that is the outermost shield, and first line of defense from environmental and oxidative stress is comprised of pigments Lutein, Zeaxanthin (and Meso-Zeaxanthin), the very same pigments found in the orange pepper. According to clinical studies increased intake of these natural pigments equals an increase in MPOD! The more that is learned about AMD prevention and management, the more healthcare professionals are realizing the strength of the connection between diet, life choices and AMD. Although taking a supplement with the clinically studied formula is the only sure way you can get the measured dosage you need to increase your MPOD, diet and lifestyle habits are still so important! The delicious, bell pepper-based soup recipe below is just one of many ways you can enjoy cooking this beneficial “eye food”. Now is the time to start eating to protect and preserve your vision!
• 1 pound of sweet peppers, seeds and veins removed
• 1 small hot red pepper (optional)
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 tbs. olive oil, for sautéing
• 3 tbs. fresh thyme
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 7 cups low sodium vegetable broth
• 1/3 cup brown rice
• 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup chives, minced
• lightly salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, bring olive oil to medium-high heat. Toss in sliced onions and peppers, sauté for about 10 minutes until softened but not browned, stirring frequently. When softened add garlic and thyme, stirring to coat and cooking for another 4-5 minutes. Pour vegetable broth over the mixture, sprinkle in the rice, add a bit of apple cider vinegar, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool for a few minutes while you prepare the blender. Transfer a few ladles of soupy-pepper mixture to the blender at a time, until all of the soup has been pureed. Serve with a few teaspoons of fresh chives and enjoy!
About the author: Kirsten Stone hails from Portland, Oregon and grew up growing her own food on a farm. She has a lasting passion for nutrition as well as personal and global eye health.