(BPT) - After a long, cold winter, it's time to celebrate the start of summer with outdoor picnics, activities with friends and family, and by enjoying fresh, seasonal foods. As you put together your menu for your upcoming summer celebrations, you may not realize just how many foods in some of your favorite recipes contain ingredients that benefit the health and wellness of your eyes. In fact, many of these fruits and vegetables can even be found in your own home garden.
Robert Irvine, Food Network celebrity chef and Transitions adaptive lenses wearer, understands just how critical it is to include eye healthy foods as part of your diet. The right foods can help you maintain healthy, enhanced vision and see your best no matter if you're in the kitchen or outside on your patio.
'Whether I'm cooking on the set or at home with my family, I always try to prepare dishes using the freshest and most colorful ingredients in season,' Irvine says. 'And because the ability to see clearly and comfortably is so important to my life, both professionally and personally, I also make sure to include eye healthy ingredients - so everyone can see their best to enjoy the sights of the season.'
Nearly 90 percent of consumers agree that the visual presentation of their food is important, according to a recent survey by Transitions Optical. And because some of the most colorful, vibrant foods such as tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots and berries contain eye healthy nutrients such as carotenoids, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C and E, summer is the perfect time to start incorporating these seasonal fruits and vegetables into your favorite meals.
'Diet, fitness and overall health are the foundation of my lifestyle,' says Irvine. 'For me, that also means getting regular eye exams and wearing proper eyewear so that my eyes are comfortable and my vision is enhanced.'
Fifty percent of vision problems are preventable through early detection and follow-up care - which is why it's never too early or too late to start taking care of your eyes.
Chef Irvine invites you to try his eye healthy tomato caprese recipe. To learn more about how vision impacts Chef Irvine's life and which Transitions adaptive lenses are right for you, visit www.transitions.com.
Home Garden Tomato Caprese
Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 large tomatoes, sliced
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 bunch of fresh grown basil
2 cups baby arugula
Juice from half a lemon
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic reduction (see below)
1 dash sea salt
1 dash fresh ground pepper
For the balsamic reduction, reduce 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pot on low heat until vinegar is reduced by two-thirds. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
On a large platter, place the sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella and basil sprigs. Toss the arugula with the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in a mixing bowl. Arrange the salad in the center of the platter. Drizzle the tomatoes and mozzarella with the rest of the olive oil and balsamic reduction. Garnish with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.