Vitamin D and Macular Degeneration Risk December 05 2013

Can Vitamins and Antioxidants Improve Eye Health?


After recently released study results, doctors are beginning to pay attention to their patients’ vitamin D levels and ask them more questions about eye health. Researchers are finding that when vitamin D as well as other vitamins, minerals and foods rich in antioxidants are present in sufficient amounts, the risk of blindness is reduced. Smoothies made with ingredients for proper nutrition can keep your eyes healthy in later years.

The two main causes of blindness in the elderly are age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Studies published by the Archives of Ophthalmology and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a link between nutrients and eye health.


Antioxidants and Protection Against Cataracts 

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye and can result in blindness if not treated. Current medical technology allows those with cataracts to undergo an operation that removes the clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial one.

Although surgery procedures have become routine and most people with cataracts can be treated on an outpatient basis, it is better to take steps to reduce the risk of getting them in the first place. One study that was published in June 2008 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the combination of antioxidants lessened the cataract risks of 2,400 older adult subjects. 

Fruits and vegetables have been rated on the degree to which they function as an effective antioxidant.  The standard measurement is called the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), and the chart below lists raw fruits and vegetables that have a high ORAC score (see below). All of these foods can be used to make raw smoothies, soups or sauces in your high performance blender.









Red bell pepper





Dark grapes




The macula is the central point of vision in the retina.  Macular degeneration is a progressive disease characterized by a dying off of light sensing cells, which eventually results in blindness. There is no medical treatment available that will reverse the disease process of macular degeneration at this time.  Of the men and women in the United States who are 40 years old or older, 15 million are said to have some degree of age-related macular degeneration.  

One study conducted by the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health*** found that women younger than 75 with above average vitamin D levels had a decreased risk for age-related macular degeneration.   The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400 IU up to age 18, 800 IU for ages 19 through 50, and 1200 IU for those over 50 years of age.   

Unlike the water-soluble B and C vitamins, vitamin D is fat-soluble and can collect in the liver and tissues. While the skin when exposed to sunlight absorbs some amount of vitamin D, this method alone will probably not provide the recommended daily dosages. Dietary adjustments need to be made to reach the recommended allowance.

You can find out what whether your vitamin D intake is sufficient through a simple blood test. Many lab forms used by doctors to order these tests include a place to indicate that vitamin D assessment is necessary. Doctors consider that someone with less than 30 nanomoles of vitamin D per liter of serum is deficient.  

If you want to increase your intake of vitamin D to protect your eyes, try including these foods in your diet: canned tuna, herring, salmon, dairy milk, almond milk, orange juice with vitamins added, and fortified cereals. Follow smoothie recipes that use milk or orange juice and whip up a few in your smoothie blender each day to increase your vitamin D level.

A healthy diet throughout life that includes raw fruits and vegetables can keep you seeing clearly in your older years. The antioxidant benefits of berries together with the vitamin D advantages of dairy milk or fortified orange juice is a recipe for delicious smoothies and healthy eyes.




(C) 2013 OmniBlender.COM LLC

Smoothies can Bolster Your Immunity November 28 2013

Smoothies made with the right nutrients can help keep your immune system strong.

According to health and nutrition experts, you need to make sure you get appropriate amounts of vitamins A, C and E to ward off infections and other conditions that may compromise your immune system. Additional components that contribute to healthy immunity are zinc, probiotics, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.  

Omega3 Fatty acids can be added to a raw smoothie via flaxseed.  This grain is particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids and, being grain, is vegetarian and vegan friendly.  There are also vitamin supplements that should be included in the regular diet if your meat consumption is particularly limited, or non-existent.

Probiotics are contained in yogurt, which is a particularly delicious smoothie base. Probiotics are healthy bacteria.  Often, we think of all bacteria as harmful and we forget that certain strains of bacteria can actually help your body produce white blood cells that fight off viruses.  

Yogurt and dairy products contain zinc, the element that helps you to build up immunity. Even milk can be an important addition to a smoothie.  If you are a vegan, you will, of course, need to focus on alternative ways of obtaining probiotics. 

Citrus is a particularly good source of vitamin C.  However many fruits contain A, C and E.  Using fruits in your smoothies will help you get you your daily allowances of these vitamins and help you improve your immunity.  

If you are looking for a dairy-free base, use vitamin-fortified orange juice in the place of milk, or use soy or almond milk. If you use orange juice, make certain you add ice to give the smoothie some texture.

Spinach contains vitamins A, C and E. When you combine spinach with juicy-sweet fruits, the sweetness hides the vegetable’s bitter taste. The result is an amazing immunity-increasing and tasty smoothie.


#1 Blueberry Flaxseed Smoothie 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

2 cups fruit juice, unsweetened

1 banana, fresh or frozen

½ cup plain yogurt (or substitute 1 cup soy milk or low-fat organic milk)

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed


#2 The Pear-Kiwi-Berry and Flaxseed Smoothie

1 pear, quartered

½ cup yogurt

1 kiwi fruit

2 tablespoons flaxseed

1 teaspoon honey

½ cup berries, frozen


#3 Berry and Flaxseed Smoothie

1/2 cup vitamin-fortified orange juice

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, preferably nonfat

2 tablespoons whole flaxseed

1 cup frozen berries

1 small sliced banana


#4 The Spinach Apple Berry Smoothie

1/2 cup juice (cherry)

1 medium apple

1 cup berries, frozen

3 cups spinach, fresh


#5 Mixed Fruit and Spinach Smoothie

1 cup blueberries, frozen

½ medium apple

3 large strawberries

½ medium orange

¼ cup seedless grapes

1 cup spinach, frozen- better fresh

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

½ cup skim milk (or substitute ½ cup almond or soy milk)

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

1 tablespoon honey


While we may strive to strengthen immunity, there are times that the immune system reacts too quickly and easily as in the case of allergies. Honey can be added to nearly all smoothies and can serve to calm an over-active immune system. Because it contains pollen from plants in your local area, local honey can help you to be less allergic over time. Many people have found that they can desensitize themselves to pollens by taking 1 tablespoon of local honey a day for two weeks.


There are as many smoothie combinations as there are fruits and other ingredients to utilize. Smoothies are a delicious way to guard against viruses and increase white blood cell counts to fight infection.  Allow yourself to try different combinations, even if you are leery at first.  While they might sound odd on paper (or your computer screen) remember that versions of these smoothies have been tried, reviewed, and perfected by many others. Take a chance and explore. You will reap the health benefits of smoothies that taste better than expected and promote your ability to fight the common cold.


(C) 2013 123Vita LLC