The holiday season is in full swing, and that means holiday parties filled with rich foods and decadent desserts. Between all the tasty treats and a busy schedule, it can be difficult to remember to take care of your health this time of year.
To help you navigate the holiday dinner table, we have created a guide of foods that are easy to find this time of year and that are good for your overall health, and especially beneficial for your eyes.
We all know that apples are good for overall health. We have heard the old saying a million times – an apple a day keeps the doctor away. However, apples also play a major role in keeping your eyes healthy. They contain flavonoids, a powerful antioxidant that improves blood circulation and prevents a variety of eye diseases. They also happen to be an excellent ingredient for both sweet and savory holiday dishes.
Cranberries are a holiday classic. In addition to being festive, they are also packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that can prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C can also help keep the collagen in your cornea healthy and can reduce the risk of AMD and cataracts.
Pumpkin is typically found in pies this time of year, but this nutrient-rich food can be incorporated into a wide variety of main dishes, side dishes, and other desserts as well. Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, which is essential for a healthy cornea. They also contain a healthy dose of vitamin C and lutein and zeaxanthin, which filter out harmful, high-energy wavelengths of light and help to prevent a variety of eye diseases. Try mixing things up this year with pumpkin ravioli or pumpkin soup.
Be sure to save some room on your plate for broccoli this holiday season. This superfood is packed with eye-nourishing vitamin C. It is also rich in vitamin B6 and is another excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, an important nutrient for preventing dry eyes and night blindness. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamins C and E, which are loaded with antioxidants that help to protect your eyes from degenerative damage. In addition to being rich in vitamins, sweet potatoes also contain fewer calories than any other type of potato.
Carrots are another excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin A. Additionally, they make for an incredibly versatile ingredient. They can be thrown into a pot roast, marinated and chopped up into a carrot salad, or even served raw with hummus.
Be sure to fill up your plate with some of these foods this holiday season. Your eyes will thank you. In general, the key is to keep your plate colorful. That usually indicates that your meal is rich in vitamins and essential nutrients. However, this color should be coming from a variety of fruits and vegetable, so, unfortunately, colorful frosting from your Christmas cookies does not count.
Below, we have included a recipe suggestion to get you started. Happy holidays and bon appetit!
Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick pan over medium high heat until hot and simmering. Add the diced chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook until lightly brown and cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate lined with paper towels.
Reduce the pan heat to medium low. Add chopped bacon and cook until crisp and brown. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Transfer bacon to the plate that the chicken is on using a slotted spoon.
Increase the heat back to medium high. Add broccoli, sweet potato, onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, and the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the apples, garlic, thyme, and cinnamon. Cook 1 minute, then pour in 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cook until the stock has evaporated. Add the chicken and remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock. Cook until heated through. Then add the bacon and serve warm.