Eye Healthy Foods To Add To Your Thanksgiving Menu

Can you believe that Thanksgiving will be upon us next week? Before you start planning your Thanksgiving dinner feast, we want to share a few menu options to add to your traditional recipes that include a few eye-healthy choices. The nutrient-rich diet's holiday greens and the reds, yellows, oranges contribute to an eye-healthy medley Thanksgiving dinner. 

Colorful pigments in vegetables and fruits are called carotenoids, potent antioxidants that protect against cellular damage. Combined with other vitamins and nutrients, these provide health benefits for aging eyes. 

Vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids are essential in reducing the risks of certain eye diseases. The National Eye Institute research, called the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies, found that increased antioxidant vitamin intake reduced advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) risk by about 25% and reduced vision loss by 19%. 

Here are a few eye-healthy menu tips for this Thanksgiving holiday to add to your menu. 

Substitute Cauliflower As A Thanksgiving Dinner Side 

Instead of the carbs of mashed white potatoes, try mashed cauliflower instead. Steam a head of cauliflower and mince in the food processor until the proper consistency is reached. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C and omega-3s, both linked to good visual development.

Add Sweet Potatoes To Your Menu 

Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of vitamin C, as are fruits, and nuts are excellent sources of Vitamin E. These vitamins can help slow the progression of AMD and protect cells in the eyes from free radicals that break down healthy tissue.

Have A Colorful Plate 

Create a plate that has a rainbow color of foods with carotenoids. Adding dark, leafy greens such as collards, spinach, and kale will provide lutein, which is essential for good macular function. Pumpkins and carrots are excellent sources of beta-carotene and Vitamin C. 

There's room in every Thanksgiving dinner plan for tasty indulgences that will not wreck your diet or your vision. Remember that proper nutrition is only part of the healthy eyes menu. It is a combination of nutrition and regular examinations, the most critical portion of preventive eye health. 

In eating eye healthy this Thanksgiving, we also want to ensure you stay safe while chopping onions for those savory dishes. Chopping onions can bring tears and blur your vision which is very dangerous when handling a large, sharp knife. Remember to keep your kitchen breezy by turning on the fan above your stove. Also, chilling the onions for a few minutes before chopping will keep the compounds from rising toward your eyes. 

We hope these tips are a holiday kickoff to a great start to a happy and healthy holiday dinner.

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References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided within this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.