Thanksgiving is a time that brings friends and family together like no other holiday. It can also be the one time of year where our eyes can be bigger than our stomachs! There is nothing quite like the feasts we have with roasted turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes – and we cannot forget the delicious pumpkin pies. So that we do not feel too bad about overeating on this day, here are some Thanksgiving food facts to make us feel better.
Did you know some of the foods that we eat at this time of year have many health benefits, especially when it comes to your vision and eye health? Here are some of the few classic Turkey Day dishes that will leave our eyes healthier and searching for more.
Did you know that sweet potatoes are packed full of nutrients, including vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, vitamins B5, and B3? Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for good optical health, which helps to prevent macular degeneration and age-related problems in the cornea and retina. Vitamin C also helps to prevent this process while also helping to reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
Cranberries – this beneficial fruit can help to protect your eyes from many different types of eye conditions. Vitamin A and vitamin C are found in cranberries and have the same ocular benefits as those sweet potatoes. Cranberries contain bioflavonoids, a large class of antioxidants. Bioflavonoids are found in the pulp, skin, and rinds of foods that contain vitamin C. Both flavonoids and vitamin C help protect the eyes from free radical damage caused by pollution and the body’s normal metabolic processes. So, make sure you have extra cranberry sauce this year.
A green bean casserole is always a family favorite. Some of the ingredients may not be the healthiest, but the green beans are loaded with two nutrients that are very beneficial. Lutein and zeaxanthin which can help to reduce the risk of light-induced oxidative damage by blocking blue light from reaching the retina. This can also help slow down or prevent macular degeneration, a disease that deteriorates central vision.
Pumpkin pie is one of the best sources of vitamin A. Not only is pumpkin pie a delicious dessert at this time of year; pumpkin pie is an eye-healthy dessert. In fact, one cup of cooked and mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Remember from the sweet potatoes that Vitamin A provides nourishment and protection to the eye’s macula, lens, and cornea and can help to improve night vision.
Last but not least, no table is complete without the main attraction: turkey. This holiday staple is loaded with zinc, which provides many different benefits for our vision. Not only can zinc significantly reduce the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration and its associated vision loss, but it also has a significant effect on the development and progression of cataracts. Turkey is also considered a good source of vitamins B3 and B6.
This Thanksgiving, whether you plan to spend it with your family, watching some football, or gearing up for the chaotic Black Friday sales, be sure that you leave plenty of room in your time and schedule for your Thanksgiving feast. Eating these classic Turkey Day foods will not only keep your stomach full and definitely satisfied but will help promote healthy eyes and vision for many holidays to come.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Summit Eye Care.