When a recipe calls for beets, too often we use the beet and throw away the leaves, not realizing that they, too, are full of many nutrients for eye health. Those flat, green leaves taste a lot like kale. Sautéing them with garlic and lemon is an easy way to add them to your diet and support eye health. Studies show that vitamins and minerals in beet greens can help prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Characterized by blurry or cloudy vision, cataracts become a common vision problem as we age. They are the most common cause of vision loss in people 50 and older. Another leading cause of vision loss in seniors is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition also begins with blurry vision, and ultimately, it can lead to loss of central vision.
Clearly, it is important to consider ways we can boost eye health as we age. Beet greens are great for eye health because they contain vitamins A,C and E – all antioxidants which help protect cells from free radical damage. These antioxidants can slow the growth of cataracts and reduce the risk of AMD. Beet greens also contain zinc, a mineral which helps the body absorb these antioxidants, and lutein, another antioxidant found in most dark leafy greens.
Ingredients (2 servings):
- 1 bundle of beets (3-4 small beets with leafy green tops)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Juice from 1 half lemon (2 teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Chop off the greens and stems from the beets. Discard the stems. Wash the greens thoroughly, then roughly chop (4-5 cups). Set aside in a large bowl.
- This step will temporarily stain your hands red, so wear gloves or immediately wash with soap and water when finished: Chop off the ends of one beet. Use a carrot peeler to peel off the outer layer, and use a lemon zester to create 2 tablespoons of beet shavings. Set aside in a small bowl.
- Melt oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add minced garlic, chopped beet leaves, sea salt, pepper, and lemon juice and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until the greens shrink down and wilt a bit.
- Place into bowls. Sprinkle beet shavings on top, as well as extra salt if desired, and serve warm.