11th Injection & Cranberries

Hard to believe, but I am actually looking forward to my 11th eye injection that is keeping my aging macular degeneration at bay. It’s my guess once again, before I step into the ophthalmologist’s office and get the scientific results from all the tests and wisdom of my doctor. But I certainly seems I am not seeing any worse than I did four weeks ago. And I also want to ask him about the night vision glasses my thoughtful son-in-law purchased for me. Not for after dark, but to use instead of sunglasses. They worked wonders for me to my great surprise, but before I wholeheartedly recommend others try them, I want to ask my eye surgeon what he thinks of them to be certain I’m not causing any other problems by wearing them when I’m out in daylight.

I think it’s important to have confidence in your surgeon if you’re trusting him to inject a needle in your eye. I don’t care if he’s personable and a conversationalist, though mine is; I simply want him to have a steady hand and know exactly what he’s doing. I am definitely remembering this month that I cannot talk to him while he’s prepping me for the injection since moving my facial muscles affects the muscles around my eye as well and can cause a problem. He was polite, kind and courteous, but quite firm when he told me that last month. I guess I shouldn’t feel as relaxed and confident as I do.

So I’m celebrating this next injection, celebrating the fact my eyesight is not getting any worse and is even getting slightly better. That’s a wonderful, almost miraculous achievement because I had been advised at the very beginning that since my AMD came on so quickly and was so severe, the doctor’s only real hope was that he could arrest further progress. Yet it has improved some over the months. All of that is cause enough for great celebration. What better way to do it than with a shiny, happy looking little red berry that can be enjoyed in so many different ways and help so many parts of the body at the same time. But best for eye health!

Some people call it a magical fruit. Some people only associate it with Christmas and think of it as festive. Others look at it as an anti-aging medication because eating them on a regular frequent basis can slow down the aging process. We in New Jersey think it’s a great product to grow, given all our bogs in south Jersey and the fact we’re first or second in the nation…depending on who’s doing the research…on growing them.

All of this is true, but the really important thing is: cranberries are great for eyesight. That’s because it is a little berry, a cousin of the blueberry, that is cram pack full of antioxidants, primarily Vitamin C. That’s what helps keep the collagen in your cornea healthy. It’s also been known to reduce the risk of AMD as well as cataracts.

Cranberry juice is great to drink and has all the antioxidants and vitamins as the dried little berry. Fresh, the tiny little red berry is shiny and pretty, but rather sour to the taste. Maybe that’s because of all the iron, calcium and potassium along with Vitamin B it packs into it along with all that Vitamin C.

But loaded with all those good things, it’s even good for so much more than the eyes, so you really can’t go wrong trying some recipes, eating them by the handful, mixing them in your oatmeal or fruit salads, or even in lettuce and tomato salads.

For instance, cranberries have great therapeutic impacts on skin. It’s packed with all those things that help form collagen, the thing that keeps skin soft and youthful looking. It’s a real boon for oily skin and acne, what with all those antiseptic properties packed into the little red beauties. Cranberry juice can be used as a face mask by taking some orange peel, a teaspoon or so of honey, and some cranberry juice, mixing them all together in a blender and applying to the face for 20 minutes or so before washing clear again. Or make a pulp of cranberries, and smear it on your face, put a towel over your head and breathe in the steam from a tea kettle for a facial steam. Great for the skin, be sure you keep it out of your eyes though, it’s only good for the eyes when taken internally.

Eating cranberries helps oral hygiene by helping treat plaque formatting and gum disease. Among some of their other benefits are helping prevent kidney stones, keeping the heart in good shape even if one doesn’t exercise much, and helping lower cholesterol. With little caloric content, of course it’s great for weight loss and helps metabolism and digestion. Many say it helps fight infection, and even helps treat dandruff and other scalp problems. Try applying some cranberry juice on your scalp for a while before showering and shampooing and see if that helps cut dandruff over time.

Whether it’s all fact hasn’t been scientifically declared officially yet, but what matter? Cranberries are a tough little fruit loaded with antioxidants that help the eyes, and by the way, are known to be pretty terrific for other parts of the body as well.

I found a great easy recipe for Cranberry Power Bites on a big bag of Ocean Spray dried cranberries I picked up and think it’s worth sharing for its easy to make and is fun to nibble on: Here it is:

2 Cups old-fashioned oats

1 Cup dried cranberries

1 Cup nut butter (or any plain or flavored kind)

½ Cup white chocolate chips (even regular chocolate will do, just not as pretty)

1 C coconut flakes

2 t. vanilla extract

2/3 Cup honey (the perfect food, never goes bad!)

½ T. Salt (which I always omit)

Put them all together in a big bowl, mix really well. With a tablespoon, scoop it all out and roll into a big ball. Moisten your hands maybe with a bit of that butter, melted, or some orange juice, and form little balls. That’s it! I chill it in the refrigerator to make it firmer and there you have it!. Easier than baked cookies!


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