The holiday season is filled with big meals, whether it’s a dinner out with your coworkers, or a homemade meal with family. While enjoying this veritable smorgasbord of delicious food, make sure to ingest a few items to help maintain and benefit your eyesight for years to come.
According to the American Optometric Association, there are six crucial nutrients for eye health:
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Essential Fatty Acids
In this post, we’ll help you understand what you can eat to ensure you’re hitting all of these during the holidays.
Fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, and sardines provide the omega-3 fatty acids needed to develop visual acuity and maintain retinal function. If you are averse to seafood, you can look into taking fish oil supplements.
In addition to fish, eggs are also a great source of essential fatty acids. With a myriad of ways you can consume eggs, surely you’ll find a way to include these in your holiday nutrition plan.
3. Leafy Greens
Spinach, collard greens, and the ever-trendy kale are examples of vegetables that provide plenty of lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients help protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration since the human body does not produce them on its own.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Vitamin E is a nutrient not typically found in most Western diets because we’re “trying to hard to eat healthy.” In other words, we tend to avoid vitamin E since it’s in high-fat foods. To get your fill, add nuts like almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and peanuts - yes, that includes peanut butter - into your holiday eating plan.
5. Red Meat
Zinc helps the body fight age-related macular degeneration and resulting vision loss, according to the National Eye Institute. Oysters contain the most zinc per serving than any other food, but you’re more likely to find zinc at the holidays in red meat. Vegetarians may also receive the benefits of zinc from yogurt and legumes, such as beans and chickpeas.
Fortified cereal and wheat germ contain the most Vitamin E per serving, complementing nuts and seeds. Cereal, in particular, has been found to be a more effective source of Vitamin E than a supplement. That’s something to think about the night after or the morning of a big meal.
7. Fruits and Vegetables
Finally, fruits and vegetables are high in Vitamin C, which helps lower the risk of cataracts. Our bodies don’t create as much Vitamin C as we need, so that’s why consuming fruits and veggies is necessary. Fruit juices, like orange and grapefruit, are high in Vitamin C. You can also find Vitamin C in blueberries, tomatoes, spinach, and many more items in the produce aisle.
It can be difficult to keep your diet from careening off track during the holidays with all the different gatherings. While you may not notice the effects now, you may in the future. Be proactive, and think about your vision health in the future by making positive nutrition choices in the present.