With all of the delicious foods, desserts, and beverages you’ll be eating and drinking this holiday season, it’s important to consider how what you eat can affect your vision health. Health-conscious eating during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice all the traditional holiday favorites; in fact, you can enjoy all the delectable flavors while keeping your health and wellness in mind by indulging in moderation, and tweaking some of your favorite recipes to make them healthier. Today, we’ll look at some of the ways to incorporate the top foods that support good eye health into your holiday meal planning.

Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash

These versatile foods are both holiday favorites and excellent sources of beta carotene, an essential nutrient that may delay the development of macular degeneration. The body transforms beta carotene into vitamin A, which helps protect the cornea (the surface of the eye), and can also minimize the risk for a variety of eye infections that may cause irritation, redness, and inflammation. Try making roasted or grilled holiday dishes that feature these two foods. For an added benefit, mix in some roasted or steamed carrots for an extra boost of beta carotene.    

Kale and Pomegranates

Eating kale is a fantastic way to get both lutein and zeaxanthin, two incredibly powerful antioxidants that support healthy tissue, protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays, and may slow the process of macular degeneration. Pomegranate is also a superior source of antioxidants that promote healthy eyes and vision. This holiday, make a tossed kale and pomegranate salad for a nourishing boost of nutrients to support healthy vision.

Strawberries

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), vitamin C is another antioxidant that reduces the risk of developing cataracts, and slows the advancement of macular degeneration that is intensified with age. Be the rebel at your holiday office party and bring a fruit salad bursting with colorful strawberries, blueberries, oranges, apples, and peaches, all of which contain high amounts of vitamin C. Your coworkers will thank you.  

Red Wine and Chocolate

Catechins are another potent antioxidant that supports healthy eyes and vision. Often found in green tea, catechins include such combined vitamins as vitamins C and E, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin. Red wine and chocolate are two holiday favorites which both provide these essential antioxidants. What’s more, they pair wonderfully together, especially when you combine a sweet Merlot with dark chocolate, a Pinot Noir with a semi-sweet chocolate, or Cabernet Sauvignon with a dark or bittersweet chocolate. So bring your favorite wine and chocolate combination to your next holiday party, and make sure to share these amazing eye health benefits with your friends and loved ones.   

Schedule an Eye Exam

These are only some of the amazing foods that you can work into your holiday meals that will give you and your loved ones the gift of essential nutrients for optimal eye and vision health. Other foods to consider include salmon for combating dry eyes, green tea for antioxidants, leafy green vegetables like spinach, and bell peppers to fight age-related macular degeneration. For affordable eye care in Charleston, contact Crescent Eye Care to schedule an eye exam, and from all of us at Crescent Eye Care, happy holidays!