Preserve the Gift of Sight This Season

Dr. Michael Terzian was featured in the December 2013 edition of Porter Ranch Life magazine.

Eating the right foods such as fruits and veggies will help your waistline and your sight line.

The holiday season is upon us, a time for friends, family and of course lots of food.For many of us this means more sweet treats like frosted cookies at the office, cake at the in-laws, or chocolate at home. These extra calories can add up quickly resulting in a pound or two of weight gain by New Year’s Day. According to researchers, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in adult obesity, which can lead to diabetes, a leading cause of blindness in American adults.A healthy diet is not only crucial for our overall health but also our eyes. The good news is that the same diet that helps your overall physical health is also great for your eyes. Here are a few foods that you can supplement into your diet this holiday season.

Kale: One of the healthiest vegetables around, Kale is rich in cancer fighting antioxidants and nutrients. It is also abundant in two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which may prevent damage to the eyes from UV exposure and help lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. One cup of Kale provides more than 200 percent of vitamin A, an important nutrient for vision.

Salmon: Cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Recent research suggests that people with diets high in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to suffer from dry eyes. The omega-3 fatty acids may benefit dry eyes by reducing the inflammatory activity in the body and by possibly increasing tear production.

Strawberries: Strawberries are high in vitamin C content, an antioxidant that is essential to eye health. Vitamin C helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including collagen found in the cornea of the eye. They may also help reduce the risk ofcataracts and macular degeneration as well as maintaining the health of blood vessels within the eye.

Sweet potatoes: More similar to carrots than just their orange color, sweet potatoes are under appreciated for how rich they are in vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and fiber. In particular, vitamin A and beta-carotene are important to help prevent night blindness, among many other eye problems.Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in children of third-world countries lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Your eyes are an important part of your health. Proper eye care, annual eye exams and healthy eating are just a few simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years.