Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family and friends, honor what makes us grateful and share a feast of traditional and family dishes. But some of the foods you eat on Thanksgiving aren’t mere comfort foods: They can also benefit your eyesight.
As you dish your favorite holiday comfort foods, know that there are five vision-healthy Thanksgiving staples your eyes will thank you for.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy vision. Vitamin A helps protect the surface of the eye and prevent dry eyes, night blindness and eye infections. Carrots also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that protect the retina from damage caused by blue light. You can enjoy carrots raw, cooked, roasted or in a rustic autumn soup.
Turkey is not only the star of the Thanksgiving table but also an excellent source of zinc, a mineral that helps transport vitamin A from the liver to the eyes. Zinc is also involved in the production of melanin, a pigment that protects the eyes from harmful UV rays. Additionally, turkey contains selenium, another antioxidant that protects the eyes from oxidative stress. These nutrients nourish your eyes whether you grill, roast, air-fry or deep-fry your turkey. We recommend a traditional (and healthier) baked bird.
Cranberries in any form are a powerhouse source of vitamin C, which supports the health of blood vessels in the eyes and reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Cranberries also contain anthocyanins, flavonoids that give them their red color and have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Make smart use of these seasonal berries by making your own cranberry sauce or compote, or use fresh or dried cranberries in salads, desserts or drinks.
Green beans have cemented their place at the Thanksgiving table in decadent casseroles. They are high in vitamin K, which helps prevent blood clots and bleeding in the eyes. Vitamin K also works with vitamin D to support bone health and prevent osteoporosis, which can affect the shape and function of the eye sockets. Green beans also provide the fiber, folate and iron that are so important for overall health.
Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable that can be used in pies, cakes, soups or breads. This colorful gourd is loaded with beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which do wonders for the health of your eyes. Pumpkin also contains vitamin E, another antioxidant that protects the eyes from free radical damage and slows down the aging process of the cells.
A few other popular fall foods that are good for your eyes include:
These are just some of the Thanksgiving foods that your eyes will thank you for. The key is to eat a balanced and varied diet that includes plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats.
When your eyes need a little more help, talk to your eye doctor about your vision concerns.
Missouri Eye Institute has helped thousands of patients attain freedom from glasses and contact lenses. Contact us at (800) 383-3831 to schedule a thorough eye exam or visit MissouriEye.com to learn more about our services.
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