Eating certain foods that are high in antioxidants, notably vitamin A, can promote healthy eyesight. It’s a natural way to help prevent cataracts, which cause cloudy vision, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which destroys central vision; both are leading causes of vision loss among older adults. Brightly-colored vegetables like butternut squash are loaded with antioxidants to help prevent eye conditions and diseases that can steal your sight as you age.
Butternut Squash Benefits
This orange-colored winter squash is one of the top vegetable sources of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant and vitamin that is essential for healthy eyesight. As for its vitamin A content, winter squash is right up there with sweet potato and pumpkin! Just one cup of cubed butternut squash has more than four times the daily recommended amount of vitamin A. Studies suggest that vitamin A, paired with other antioxidants, can help lower risk of vision loss from AMD.
Another reason to eat butternut squash because it has more vitamin C and E than sweet potatoes! Butternut squash is also a great source of several carotenoids, the plant pigments that give butternut squash a vibrant orange color and also act as antioxidants in your body, boosting eye health. Among these, lutein and zeaxanthin work in the retina to prevent oxidative stress and AMD. Lutein has also been shown to reduce the incidence of cataracts. Beta-carotene and alpha-carotenes are converted into a form of vitamin A that the body can use.
Butternut Squash Frittata Recipe
With all the antioxidant power packed in butternut squash, how can you not want it in a frittata for breakfast? Start your day off “eating right” for your eyes!
Ingredients (8 servings):
- 4 slices turkey bacon, chopped (½ cup)
- 1 ½ cups butternut squash, diced
- 1 ½ tsp garlic, minced
- ⅛ tsp sage
- ½ tsp rosemary
- ⅓ cup zucchini, chopped
- 2 tsp chives, chopped
- 6 eggs
- ½ cup almond milk
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Put a little oil in a large oven-safe skillet and cook chopped turkey bacon for a few minutes.
- Then add butternut squash, garlic, sage and rosemary to the pan and cook for about 7 minutes on medium heat.
- Add zucchini and chives in the last few minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Then, add in ½ cup cheese.
- Pour egg mixture over vegetables, and cook for a few minutes until eggs begin to set. Sprinkle remaining cheese over frittata.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then cut into eight pieces and serve with extra chives on top and avocado on the side (optional).