YOU MAY HAVE SEEN OUR POST ON INDULGENT HOLIDAY DISHES THAT ARE ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOUR EYES, BUT NOT ALL FOODS WERE CREATED EQUALLY. THERE ARE CERTAIN FOODS THAT ARE NOT SO BENEFICIAL TO EYE HEALTH, AND JIM HALO OPTOMETRIST HAVE COMPILED A LIST OF THE ONES THAT MAY POP UP ON YOUR HOLIDAY DINNER TABLE. SO GO LIGHT ON THESE ONES.
Ham (and meats in general) are high in sodium, and processed meats like ham have even higher levels because salt is used to cure the flavor of the meat. Diets high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which can damage the blood vessels in the retina of the eye, affecting eyesight. Additionally untreated high blood pressure can lead to eye disease.
DEEP FRIED TURKEY
Not every family is deep frying their turkey this holiday season, but this tradition popular in the Southern U.S. has recently become more common in other locales as well. But while frying that turkey may make it all the more delicious, fried foods in general are not good for overall health, including the health of your eyes. While your turkey might not be as bad as McDonald’s french fries, the frying process does add harmful fatty oils to any food being prepared in this manner. Most types of oils used in the frying process have been shown to contribute to Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in the eye as well as raised cholesterol. Too much bad cholesterol clogs the arteries and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and vision loss. So keep these servings small.
MAC & CHEESE
Mac and cheese is one of the great comfort foods of the world, but it’s probably no surprise that this carb-loaded, cheese-bathed dish isn’t great for your health. Most often made with white pasta, the base of this dish provides little-to-no nutritional benefit for your eyes. Additionally, the plethora of cheese, butter, and heavy creams in most recipes make mac and cheese high in sodium and saturated fats. Diets high in saturated fats and sodium have been linked to the development of eye disease.
While mashed potatoes themselves may not be detrimental to your eye health, this dish is making our “Naughty List” because the starches that make up potatoes provide basically no nutritional value to your body as a whole, including your eyes. They may provide some quick energy, but that’s about it. We suggest reaching for the sweet potato mash instead. Sweet potatoes are packed with high levels of Vitamin C, which helps with seeing at night, and Vitamin A, which promotes healthy connective tissue and collagen in the cornea of the eye.
So make sure to keep the portion sizes of the above dishes to a minimum, and check out our post on holiday foods that are good for your eyes to learn more about the delicious foods you can swap out for the above naughty list dishes this year.