When you think about holiday treats, there aren’t a lot of healthy options that come to mind. Rich eggnog, sugary cookies, mountains of chocolate: my kids would fill up on them all day long if they could. While you don’t have to eliminate these tasty traditions entirely, you can supplement them with healthy choices that are actually great for your vision!
Here are some ideas to get you started.
We’ve all heard that dark chocolate can be good for your cardiovascular health. However, a more recent study examined the impact of milk vs. dark chocolate on three types of visual perception: visual acuity, large and small letter contrast sensitivity. Researchers found that all measures improved two hours after eating a 47-gram dark chocolate bar (72% cacao).
You can incorporate dark chocolate into your holiday menu in a variety of ways, from chocolate-dipped strawberries to dessert bark. Here are some sweet yet healthy recipes to get you started.
Raw Bell Peppers
Per calorie, bell peppers have the highest amount of Vitamin C. Not only is it beneficial for the blood vessels in your eyes, but it could also reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Vitamin C is broken down by heat, so eat bell peppers raw whenever possible. You can make them extra-tasty by pairing them with an equally healthy yogurt dip. To make your veggie platter extra-festive, mix green and red peppers together.
There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids your retinas need to function properly: DHA and EPA. You can find both in salmon! As well as helping to protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration, omega-3 fatty acids may also play a role in preventing common winter eye issues like dry eye. Check out these mouthwatering holiday recipes that include salmon!
Sunflower Seeds and Almonds
An ounce of sunflower seeds or almonds contains about half of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E for adults. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Vitamin E and other nutrients may delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Almond and sunflower seed butter are also good sources of vitamin E, so add it to your favorite cracker for a healthy holiday snack!
Eggs are not only tasty snacks, but they contain zinc that make it easier for your body to use the beneficial lutein and zeaxanthin from in their yolk.
- Lutein is a vitamin that protects our eyes from high-energy blue wavelengths of light. It is important to supplement lutein through diet and vitamins since the body does not produce it.
- Zeaxanthin, a carotenoid that’s especially abundant in egg yolks and orange peppers, can help you maintain your macular pigment at healthy levels.
Add some hard-boiled eggs to your holiday platters or incorporate them into your morning meals this season!
Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which is a form of Vitamin A that supports healthy night vision. As an added bonus, one sweet potato contains Vitamin E and over half the Vitamin C you need in a day. No holiday party can go wrong when you have snacks like these baked sweet potato chips available!
At Belle Vue Speciality Eye Care, we would like to wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season! See you in the New Year!