“Moderation in all things,” an old proverb advises. While it may be hard to moderate over the holidays, a little of this and a little of that could do wonders for your eye health.
In fact, many traditional holiday dishes are brimming with vitamins and nutrients that are known to keep eyes healthy and sharp. Incorporate some of these classic treats into a mostly healthy diet, and you’ll be doing your eyes a huge favor.
Turkey. Our traditional feast of protein is high in vitamin B, which helps prevent dry eye disease. It also has zinc and calcium, which are known to keep eye muscles healthy and well-functioning. Stick to a 3 oz. portion of skinless breast for the healthiest benefit.
TIP: If you don’t want to run afoul of smart eating guidelines, don’t deep-fry your bird. Instead, do a traditional roast with vitamin E-rich chestnut stuffing. This vitamin protects ocular structures from damage.
Sweet potatoes. The vibrant orange color of sweet potatoes is a tip-off to their high beta-carotene content. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant known to protect against infection and night blindness. Just one cup of sweet potato provides about twice the beta-carotene most people consume in an entire day, making it a stellar choice for your eyes.
TIP: These tasty tubers have plenty of natural sugars, so no need to heap on marshmallows or syrup. Cut them into 1-inch cubes and roast at 425 degrees until there’s a deep brown caramelization around the edges. Serve as a savory side.
Cranberry sauce. This tangy condiment is a heavy hitter on antioxidants, such as vitamin C. They’re usually too tart to eat on their own, but a little of the sweet sauce goes a long way.
TIP: Fresh cranberry sauce is better than anything from a can, and it’s easy to make. Simmer a small bag of fresh or frozen berries in 1/3 cup orange juice and 1/3 cup sugar until it’s thick and spreadable. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
Green beans. The lutein and zeaxanthin contained in green beans are known to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. That’s a nutritional boost we can get behind any time of the year.
TIP: Casserole is among the most popular ways to enjoy green beans over the holidays. Consider trimming the saturated fat by using low-fat soup, cutting back on cream and butter, and/or omitting fried toppings.
Mixed nuts. Walnuts and almonds, in particular, are rich in vitamin E. The trick is to go easy. A small handful will help you stave off pre-meal hunger in a healthy way.
TIP: Did you know cinnamon is a metabolism booster? Dust some almonds with this warming spice to kick up the flavor and health benefits.
Salad. There’s room for leafy greens on every dinner table. Depending on how you prepare it, your salad could include more vitamins and minerals than the rest of your meal combined—plus healthy fiber.
TIP: The more colorful the salad, the better, as the bright hues in fruits and vegetables are often created by the healthy nutrients you need. Think spinach, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, berries and seeds. Top it with an olive oil vinaigrette, loaded with heart-healthy fats.
Pumpkin pie. There’s that beta-carotene again! Save room for a small slice of this beloved holiday dessert if it makes you happy.
TIP: If you’re bringing the pie, make this nutrient-dense dish even more guilt-free by trying a crustless version, using less sugar in the recipe or going light on the whipped topping.
Most important of all, do your heart and your mind a huge favor by keeping the festivities stress-free. The holidays were meant to be enjoyed.
Missouri Eye Institute has helped thousands of patients achieve 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 vision correction solutions.Tags: Foods for Healthy Vision, Healthy Vision
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