I’m Supposed to Eat WHAT? I Hate Salmon and Kale!

One of the most common questions I get is, “How do I slow down the progression of AMD?” I’ve written about the AMD Lifestyle which includes having eye-healthy nutrition as part of a plan to stay healthy overall and to keep our eyes as healthy as possible.

Kale & salmon: 2 recommended foods for AMD

Two often recommended foods are kale and salmon. I hear you:
“Kale?? It’s so bitter and awful!” and “Yuck! I hate salmon!”

Do you hear more about kale these days? I do! There’s a current TV advertisement where one person says, “Do you say yes to everything?” The second person says, “I say no to kale. They say if you blanch it, it’s better, but that seems like a lot of work.”

How kale helps the macula

Kale is a dark green leafy vegetable that is sometimes referred to as a ‘superfood.’ The title of one article is, “Kale Is Among The Most Nutrient-Dense Foods on The Planet.”  It is easy to find lists of all the good things in kale including lutein and zeaxanthin which keep the pigment in our macula healthy.

Kale alternatives

If that isn’t enough to convince you to try kale, or if you’ve tried blanching it and you still can’t stomach it, there are alternatives. Spinach is the second dark leafy green vegetable that you’ll find recommended for healthy eyes. Just like kale, it contains many of the same nutrients including lutein and zeaxanthin. Eating too much spinach can be a problem if you are prone to kidney stones, have gout, or take the blood thinner Warfarin.1 Those cautions don’t apply to kale.

Other leafy greens with lutein and zeaxanthin

There are other leafy green vegetables that contain lutein and zeaxanthin and other important nutrients:

  • Collards
  • Mustards
  • Cabbage
  • Romaine
  • Turnip greens
  • Arugula
  • Escarole
  • Chard

Sometimes the success of adding foods to your diet is finding yummy recipes. There’s no lack of them if you search for ‘recipes leafy green vegetables.’

Eating fish twice a week

Growing up I thought that fish was long and rectangular because fish to my parents was breaded ‘fish sticks.’ My mother cooked these partly because neither my mother nor father really liked fish, but being Catholic meant fish on Fridays. I think they liked the breading the most.

That was all the fish I ate until I went out on my own and discovered that there all different sizes and shapes. I found out that I like some and won't eat others. Eating salmon twice a week is recommended for those who do not have AMD as well as for those who do. Just like me, some like salmon and some won't eat it.

Salmon alternatives

Just as there are alternatives to kale, there are alternatives to salmon:

  • Omega-3-enriched eggs but make sure you eat the whole egg.
  • Other types of fish such as fresh or water-packed tuna, trout, mackerel or herring.
  • Another type of fatty acid is ALA which is found in some vegetable oils (soybean & canola oils), plants (green leafy vegetables like kale), seeds (flax seeds) and nuts (walnuts).

Cooking fish so it doesn't taste like fish

Yes, there is advice to do just that. Here are some tips:

  • Don't overcook it so invest in a good food thermometer, the internal temperature should be 145 degrees.
  • Often it’s the sauce that makes it palatable. You might do a search for ‘fish recipes for people who don’t like salmon.’ Amazing how many you will find.
  • Buy frozen fish not fresh because it may not be the freshest as in 'right off the boat' but it won’t sit around and smell up the kitchen.

Kale and salmon nutrients

You don't have to like kale and salmon to get the nutrients in them. You might try other leafy green vegetables than spinach or kale. You might try sources of ALA such as walnuts, flax seeds, and canola oil. I hope that instead of skipping these types of foods completely you will find creative ways to add them to your eye-healthy diet.

Bon appétit - Enjoy your meal!

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