Frosted sugar cookies! Candy canes! Fresh baked pies! Sweet treats are just a few of the perks that come with the holiday season. With Thanksgiving already behind us and the New Year quickly approaching, it's important that we continue to make healthy choices during this festive time. Fortunately, many of the foods we regularly consume are beneficial not only for our overall health, but also for our eyes. Here's a look at a few of the top foods that keep our eyes healthy, along with a few fun tips to keep us feeling great as we celebrate with our friends and families.
Foods that promote eye health:
- Green leafy vegetables: Spinach, kale, and collard greens are packed full of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are protective against macular degeneration and cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin can also be found in broccoli, peas and avocados.
- Fish: Salmon, tuna and sardines are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve dry eye and also provide nourishment to protect against macular degeneration. These fatty acids also have been proven to reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy in patients with diabetes.
- Eggs: Eggs contain both lutein and Vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes eye health by protecting against night blindness and dry eye.
- Whole Grains: Trade refined carbs for foods like quinoa, brown rice and whole-wheat bread. These foods are a wonderful source of vitamin E, which protects our cell membranes, and therefore protects against macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin E also protects us against molecules called free radicals, which break down healthy eye tissue. Zinc is found in these foods as well. Zinc is another key player in protection against macular degeneration. Finally, whole grains are a good source of niacin, which helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which can affect the eye if not kept under control.
- Citrus Fruits: Grapefruits, oranges and lemons are full of Vitamin C, which is a huge player in overall health. Vitamin C promotes healthy capillaries and blood vessels, healthy gums and teeth and also absorption of iron. Multiple studies have shown that this powerful vitamin protects against macular degeneration, cataracts and helps keep the blood vessels in our eyes healthy.
- Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts & even peanut butter are great sources of Vitamin E, just like those whole grains!
Tips for a healthy, happy holiday season:
- Keep Moving! Just 30 minutes of exercise per day has been proven to help keep the extra pounds off and promote good cardiovascular health.
- Allow yourself one “cheat” per day. Try to set a healthy limit for yourself at work, home and holiday events. Choose one yummy treat to have for the day and enjoy it!
- Remember your fruits & veggies. Try to sneak in the recommended 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables every day. Doing so will not only keep your body healthy, but also help curb your appetite. Smoothies are an easy, delicious way to get these healthy foods into your diet.
- Go to parties with a little something in your tummy. Before heading out to all the fun festivities, grab a handful of nuts or a serving of fruit. Having a little something in your stomach will help prevent you from over-indulging on all of those party treats.
- Use a smaller plate. Choosing to use an appetizer plate instead of a dinner plate is a great way to cut back and also tricks our brain into thinking we’re eating more. Give it a try at your next event. It works!
- Eat breakfast. Multiple studies have shown that eating breakfast every morning helps prevent overeating throughout the day.
We'd love to hear your holiday tips and any healthy holiday recipes you have over on our Facebook page! As always, please contact us should you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment before the end of the year. We look forward to hearing from you & wish you all the best as 2016 comes to a close!