Which Christmas foods are best for healthy eyes?

Wednesday 23 December 2020 by Vision Direct

Family members FaceTiming on an Ipad

Christmas this year will undoubtedly be very different - and although some of our favourite activities can't go ahead, we can still revel in the delights of the ultimate festive feast.

You probably don't associate classic Christmas cuisine (mince pies, advent chocolates and potatoes in every form), with healthy eating at all, and we hear you. But, you'll be happy to know that many ingredients in a traditional roast are in fact bursting with nutrients that are beneficial for your eyes - huzzah! So, don your jolliest jumper and pop in your contact lenses, as we take a look at the top 5 foods to protect your peepers during this period.

Turkey

Roast turkey coming out the oven

When you're going for second helpings, you needn't feel guilty about an extra bit of turkey. Turkey is one of the healthiest meats you can eat, as it's very high in zinc. Your body needs zinc to use vitamin A properly, and it leads to the creation of a pigment known as melanin. The amount of melanin that you're born with determines your eye colour, as well as protects your eyes from potential UV damage.

Being deficient in zinc also has implications for your eyesight as people with low levels of zinc can have difficulty seeing at night. A zinc deficiency also increases your chances of getting an eye infection, so eating food that's high in zinc helps to keep your eyes healthy and functioning to their best ability. Plus, wearing contact lenses with an in-built UV filter is another way of beating off harmful sun rays, even during the winter. Our opticians recommend everclear ELITE - super comfy and breathable daily disposable lenses, designed with UV blocking technology.

Cranberries

If you're having turkey, or any kind of roast, you can't go without a bit of cranberry sauce. Making your own with fresh ingredients is the best way to ensure you get the nutritional benefit of these delicious berries, and there's lots to gain.

Cranberries are rich in vitamin C, which is great for stopping any damage from the effect of free radicals - unstable atoms. These atoms are produced by your body to help the metabolic process, but too many left unchecked can be harmful as they destroy cells, including those in your eyes. Vitamin C protects you from these and promotes healthy connective tissue and collagen in your corneas, reducing your risk of developing cataracts, and other eye conditions.

Plate of roasted carrots

Carrots

It's probably no surprise to see carrots making this list, and we're sure you've been told before that carrots help you to see in the dark. While this isn't strictly true, they do help to treat a condition known as night-blindness, caused by vitamin A deficiency and protect your eyes from any potential oxygen damage. While getting plenty of oxygen is important for your eye health, you still need the help of antioxidants to manage it and make sure that you avoid any unwanted side effects.

Opting for contact lenses when you're cooking in the kitchen also means that you can forget the faff of fogging glasses, and whip up dishes hassle-free. Dailies are extremely useful during the festive season and beyond, as you can switch from your specs whenever you want, and pop in a fresh new pair of lenses, easy-peasy.

Salmon

Smoked salmon is a perfect Christmas treat, delicious for brunch with scrambled eggs or as a perfect canape if you're entertaining. High in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon belongs to a group of fish which, as part of a balanced diet, contribute to maintaining healthy and clear vision while preventing various eye infections and conditions.

The presence of omega-3 fatty acids increases tear production, and helps to prevent annoying dry eyes, which often worsen during the colder months. Having a bottle of eye drops on hand to deal with any potential dryness is always a good idea, especially if you're heading out into the chilly and windy conditions for a post-feasting stroll. If you're stuck for choice, everclear Eye Drops are remarkably soothing, with a gentle-yet-effective formula, ideal for sensitive and parched peepers.

Salmon is also particularly rich in B vitamins, including niacin, which studies have found reduces the risk of developing cataracts by nearly 50%. So while it isn't always the cheapest food, you can be sure that you're getting great nutritional value as well as a delicious flavour!

Brussels sprouts

Love them or hate them, sprouts are a staple of the British Christmas dinner. You might not know, however, that they're fantastic for fighting off age-related macular degeneration. This condition can occur gradually as you get older and causes your sight to deteriorate, leading to blurry vision and even partial blindness. While they might not be everyone's cup of tea, their benefits certainly make them a great side dish to balance out some of the more indulgent parts of your Christmas meal.

They're also full of antioxidants, including vitamin C, which offers protection against UV and blue light damage, arming your eyes with the tools needed to help banish digital eye strain. And, don't forget to give your eyes regular breaks from the screen during this time, too. Our opticians suggest the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look away from the screen for 20 seconds, at something that's 20 feet away. Whether you've been catching up on Christmas movie classics, or sitting at your computer, wrapping up end-of-year priorities, make sure to step away, and blink more to keep your eyes moisturised - it works, promise!

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