Poor eyesight can significantly impair our quality of life. In absence of healthy vision, what remains is a constant struggle to read, distinguish faces, drive and recognize colors, which can greatly impact our freedom and pleasure.
Our eyes need minerals and nutrients, such as vitamin A and C, carotenoids, bioflavonoids, anitoxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. And one of the best ways to keep your eyes healthy is incorporating foods in your diet that are rich in essential nutrients. Listed below are 7 holiday season foods that fit the bill and will help keep your eyes in top health, regardless of your age.
1. Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, turnip greens, kale, and collard greens are packed with zeaxanthin and lutein, antioxidants which, according to various studies, reduce the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Lutein acts like sunscreen, protecting the eye’s retina from harmful sunlight. These leafy greens are also rich in vitamin A, which helps protect the eye’s surface (cornea) and is therefore essential for good vision. You can either add leafy greens to your salad, blend them to make smoothies or add large quantities into your daily meals.
The yolk is a prime source of zeaxanthin, lutein, omega 3s, vitamin A and zinc, all of which help minimize the risk of macular degeneration. Remember to choose organic eggs rather than regular eggs.
We’ve all heard about this one. The secret ingredients in carrots are lutein and beta-carotene, which not only protects the cornea but also against night blindness. It is best to munch on raw carrots instead of eating cooked carrots because the former are packed with essential nutrients which have not yet been destroyed by the heat.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Containing fewer calories and more vitamins, sweet potatoes have four times more vitamin A than what is necessary. They are also rich in vitamins C and E, both of which are packed with antioxidants that work towards protecting your eyes from degenerative harm. Sweet potatoes make a great addition to your holiday table in any form, baked, roasted or fried.
Berries, from strawberries to blueberries, are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which are famous for minimizing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. These berries are a natural fit for any celebratory meal, and delicious.
Apples not only help maintain your overall health but play a special role is maximizing the wellness of your eyes. Apples strengthen eyesight due to the presence of flavonoids, an antioxidant which improves blood flow and hence prevents eye problems. Phytonutrients present in apples are also great for ridding the eyes of any free radicals, which in turn work to prevent conditions like cataracts, AMD and glaucoma.
Seeds make great toppings for holiday foods, and bring along various benefits for the eyes. Flax, chia, sunflower, hemp, sesame and pumpkin seeds have their own nutritional profile, but contain large quantities of vitamin E, zinc, and omega-3s, all of which are big contributors towards healthy eyes.