There’s no denying that one of the great things about the holidays is the plethora of heavenly comfort food. From stuffing and mashed potatoes to pie and mulled wine, food this time of year epitomizes what it means to be merry. Because these indulgences often lead to feelings of guilt, we’re here to take that burden off your shoulders. JIM HALO optometrist recommends you, some of the ingredients that are bound to be part of your holiday spread this winter are quite beneficial to your eye health. Let’s find out which ones.
MASHED SWEET POTATOES & SWEET POTATO PIE
Sweet potatoes, like many orange colored fruits and vegetables, are high in beta-carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A in the body and benefits your ability to see at night. Additionally, whether you’re eating your sweet potatoes mashed or as a pie, when you consume the equivalent of one sweet potato, you’re getting more than 50% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin C, which is good for the blood vessels in your eyes and may help prevent the development of cataracts.
Lean meats are high in zinc, which carries Vitamin A from your liver to your retinas. Though other lean meats like chicken, pork, and beef also contain zinc, oysters actually have the most zinc per serving. But as you may not see oysters at Christmas dinner, go ahead and savor that turkey knowing that it’s contributing to your eye health.
What goes better with turkey than a side serving of tangy cranberry sauce? Cranberries are a superfood high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A. As we now know, Vitamin A benefits night vision. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that provides protection from free radical damage to healthy cells in the body. It also helps to promote healthy connective tissue and collagen in the cornea of the eye.
Squash contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which help protect the eye from high-energy light waves like UV rays from sunlight. The human body can’t produce these elements itself, so foods like squash and leafy greens become important sources. That’s why going back for second servings of pumpkin pie can only be beneficial for your eyes.
Alright, there’s a caveat to this one. If you’re drinking hot cocoa, it has to be of the dark chocolate variety for it to benefit your eye health. Dark chocolate is full of flavonoids, which improve blood flow to the eyes and help with seeing in both low light and excessively bright light without strain.
So there you have it, go ahead and take extra helpings of these yummy dishes this year. If anyone gives you sideways glances, just tell them that it’s good for your eyes.