Written by: Jacci, Published: 11 December 2019
We all have eyes too big for our bellies around Christmas time, but what benefits do our favourite festive trimmings have on our eyes?
If you need another excuse to over-indulge this year (which we certainly do not!), here is a list of the top foods from your Christmas dinner that will help protect your peepers.
Turkey is one of the healthiest meats you can eat for many reasons. For one, it’s loaded with zinc and B-vitamin niacin; which happens to aid in the prevention of cataracts. So please don’t feel guilty for going back for seconds…or thirds…or fourths!
Not only this, but zinc is needed to transport vitamin A to the blood. Vitamin A is very important for the production of melanin, which has been found to protect cells against damage from UV rays.
The amount of melanin present in the iris is also accountable for the colour of the eyes. The more melanin a person has, the darker the eye colour and thus the more protected they are from UV rays.
Interestingly, superstitious folk believe that a person’s eye colour is an indication of their personality. How accurate do these sound to you?
Blue-eyes: rich imaginations.
Green eyes: sharp minds.
Hazel eyes: passionate souls.
Brown eyes: calm, with underlying passion.
Since you can’t have turkey without cranberry sauce, we are going to make your day by telling you that this superfood works wonders for the eyes.
Cranberries are very powerful antioxidants and along with many other berries, provide a high dose of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is essential for fighting free radicals, which are responsible for destroying cells; including those in the eyes. But it doesn’t stop there; vitamin C also promotes healthy connective tissue and collagen in the corneas.
It may be worth mentioning that there are numerous cocktails that contain cranberry juice- cosmopolitan anyone?!
As cliché as it sounds carrots are fantastic for improving eyesight and technically speaking they really can help you ‘see in the dark’ – so to speak.
Carrots contain vitamin A which is responsible for creating rhodopsin- a pigment in the eyes that control vision in low-light. In fact, nyctalopia (night blindness) is the first sign of vitamin A deficiency. When this occurs, it’s important to seek medical help, to receive appropriate treatment.
Did you know? The human eye takes approximately 45 minutes to fully adjust to the dark.
It wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without brussel sprouts. Love them or hate them, they are great for keeping eyes healthy.
Firstly, they help to prevent age-related macular degeneration; a condition in which the central part of the retina deteriorates, resulting in blurred vision.
But not only this, similarly to cranberries, they contain very high volumes of vitamin C; but they are also a great source of vitamin K- let’s introduce you.
As well as reducing under eye ‘puffiness’ and dark circles (hooray!), vitamin K promotes matrix Gla protein. This supports healthy tissue, balances ocular pressure and aids in the transmission of visual signals to the brain- basically an all singing, all dancing nutrient.
If you’re part of the anti-Brussel sprout brigade, you can receive your intake of vitamin K from other green vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach and kale.
How about salmon to start? With heaps and heaps of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon has excellent benefits for eye health. This is because it contains both types of omega-3 fatty acids that the eyes need- DHA and EPA.
DHA and EPA are major structural components of the retina (light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye). When there is a lack of these, vision problems can arise, such as macular degeneration.
Omega-3 also helps to form the cells of the eye with anti-inflammatory properties that play an important role in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy.
Suffer with dry eyes? Omega-3 has you covered. This super vitamin helps the eyes produce more tears. It’s recommended that one or two meals of omega-3 rich food are consumer per week.