Top favourite meals that can boost senses – including lasagne

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Simple everyday favourites, such as a roast chicken dinner, are considered to be good for eyesight, thanks to the beta carotene in carrots, and lutein and zeaxanthin in green vegetables.

And chicken thighs are a good source of zinc, which helps to maintain our sense of taste and smell.

Meanwhile, tomatoes in a lasagne contain lycopene, which can help maintain good eyesight – and beef contains vitamin B12, which may impact your sense of smell if you don’t get enough in your diet.

The research comes after a study of 2,000 adults found more than a third (36 percent) don’t pay attention to what they eat and the affect it has on different parts of their body.

And of those who do, general weight is the top concern for 55 percent, followed by their gut or digestive health, heart, energy levels, and immunity.

Nutritionist Rob Hobson, who worked on the meals with eye health nutrients Healthspan OptiVision, which commissioned the research, said: “Diet plays a huge role in our health and wellbeing.

“The saying goes that you are what you eat – and in many cases, this really can be the case.

“Foods all have different benefits – some more than others – and by considering what is in different items, and cleverly combining vitamins and minerals from your food, you can give different areas of your body and mind targeted support.

“Whether it’s thinking about your brain health and what can improve it, or tucking into foods that can help look after your eyes or support your mood – we can now pinpoint how foods and gaps in the diet can impact certain body parts.

The saying goes that you are what you eat – and in many cases, this really can be the case

Nutritionist Rob Hobson

“It’s important to have a healthy balanced diet to ensure your body is in as good a condition as it can be.”

The study also found the average adult only has the recommended five portions of fruit and veg on three days a week.

But more than one in twenty (seven percent) admitted they never eat the full amount in one day.

As a result, 42 percent don’t think they consume enough fruit, while 36 percent say the same of vegetables.

Others think they are lacking when it comes to fish (41 percent), dairy (22 percent), and water (35 percent).

This means one in four (26 percent) think they are missing out on vitamins and minerals which are crucial to their body and health.

Of those, 39 percent blame this on simply not knowing what nutrients they need – however, 35 percent are aware what foods they should eat to get the right amount.

A third claim they are too busy to prepare the meals they should be eating, and 31 percent think healthy food is too expensive.

It also emerged that when choosing what to eat, how it tastes (34 percent) is a bigger consideration than how healthy it is (24 percent).

Rob Hobson, who also works on recipe development for specific health conditions, added: “Taste, colour, texture are all key when it comes to the sensory aspect of food and taste.”

But over half (53 percent) of those polled, via OnePoll, never consider the foods that could help boost their eye health, while a third (34 percent) claim they don’t believe what they eat makes a difference to their eyesight.

Just 34 percent consider carrots to be a good item to eat for healthy eyes, while only 31 percent said the same of tomatoes.

Oily fish (29 percent), green, leafy vegetables (29 percent), and orange peppers (26 percent) were also among the foods many were unaware could help look after their eyes.

However, almost one in ten (nine percent) consider their eye health to be poor or very poor, with 15 percent convinced they have an eye condition which has been made worse by their diet.

Optometrist Ian White said: “A healthy diet is essential to allow your eyes and vision to work at their optimum level right now.

“But some of the biggest benefits to healthy eating come from preventing future eye diseases before they start.”

TOP 10 SENSORY BOOSTING MEALS, ACCORDING TO ROB HOBSON:

  1. SPICY CAJUN SALMON WITH MANGO, SWEETCORN, AND AVOCADO SALSA. This marinated salmon dish is brightly coloured, which can help to stimulate your appetite. It is also good for your eye health as it is rich in both lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein is especially beneficial for eye health as, together with other potent antioxidants, this phytonutrient helps to block out visible blue light, which is one of the major causes of light-induced eye damage.
  2. ROASTED RED PEPPER AND SWEET POTATO SOUP. This vibrant red soup is made from red peppers and sweet potatoes, which are rich in the carotenoids lycopene and beta carotene which have been shown to support good eye health. These are converted to vitamin A in the body, which is essential for good eye health. Vitamin A helps by keeping the surface of the eye, or the cornea, moist and healthy. Beta-carotene has also been shown to help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
  3. CRUNCHY RADISH, TOMATO, AND WATERMELON SALAD. How a food sounds when you eat it is a sense that can make food more appealing. Foods such as radish have a satisfying crunch that adds texture to a dish. Recent research published in the American Journal of clinical nutrition, involving over 65,000 women, found that those with higher intakes of beta carotene were associated with a lower risk of hearing loss.
  4. BLUEBERRY AND CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER BAKED OATS. Oats are a healthy addition to any diet and, when baked, offer a crunchy texture to dishes which is appealing to the ear. Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology has shown that eating a healthy, balanced diet may reduce the risk of acquired hearing loss. A healthy diet will include plenty of plant foods, including wholegrains such as oats and antioxidant rich fruits such as blueberries.
  5. THAI PRAWN AND LEMONGRASS SWEET AND SOUR BROTH. Balancing different tastes can make dishes more satisfying to eat, and one of the most common combinations is sweet and sour which is found in this soup. This dish is also a good source of zinc, which is required by the body to maintain a good sense of smell.
  6. MUSHROOM RISOTTO. Mushrooms are a classic “umami” food, which means they give a rich, savoury flavour. They also contain a source of zinc to help maintain good taste.
  7. KOREAN BEEF STIR FRY. Smell is one of the main things people use to decide whether they will eat a certain food. This dish is scented with Korean flavours of ginger and sesame, while B12 found in beef has been shown to have a role to play in your sense of smell.
  8. HERB SALAD WITH PISTACHIO AND POMEGRANATE. Herbs are a good way to make any dish more fragrant, and there is no rule to how they can be used. This dish combines multiple herbs to create a sense sensation – plus the pistachio has the added benefit of zinc, which can help to maintain a sense of smell.
  9. ROAST CHICKEN DINNER. Chicken thighs are a good source of zinc which helps to maintain our sense of taste and smell, while roasted veg is good for eyesight due to the beta carotene in the carrots, and lutein and zeaxanthin in the green vegetables.
  10. LASAGNE. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which can help maintain good eyesight, while beef contains vitamin B12, which may impact on your sense of smell if you don’t get enough in your diet.

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