Holiday Superfoods

Need a reason to fill up on cranberries this Thanksgiving? There are actually several reasons related to both eye health and overall systemic health as to why you should readily eat them. Since cranberries contain fiber, loading up on this super fruit promotes healthy cholesterol which in turn helps reduce your risk of heart disease. They lower risk of urinary tract infections, can decrease your blood pressure, and help protect you from developing cancer due to their antioxidant properties.

When it comes to the eyes, one of my most common recommendations to patients of any age is ensure you’re consuming enough vitamin C daily. Vitamin C, found in cranberries, improves your immune system and helps fight off illness. It also supports blood vessels found in the eye. High intake of vitamin C helps prevent cataract development and lowers risk of cataract progression. Cataracts advance from mild, moderate to mature stage with the possibility of causing more & more symptoms (reduced quality of vision, glare at night, inability to see fine detail, changes in color vision) that can affect your quality of life as cataracts approach the need to be removed and replaced with intraocular lens implants (cataract replacement surgery). High vitamin C can also even slow the progression of advanced ARMD (age related macular degeneration)- the leading cause of vision loss in Americans who are 60+years old.

The FDA suggests men get at least 90 mg/day of vitamin C and women at least 75 mg/day. Our bodies cannot produce vitamin C: we must consume it in our diet or ingest vitamin supplements. Because vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, your body won’t store it. Vitamin C dissolves in water & is eliminated in urine, hence we are required to consume vitamin C each day in order to replenish our daily supply. Therefore there is little scientifically documented risk in consuming higher than recommended doses of vitamin C. This is not the case in regards to fat-soluble vitamins. If you’re most interested in boosting your vitamin C intake due to its help in preventing cataract development: aim for at least 300 mg/day.

PS. Still need one more reason? Cranberries are low in fat…be sure to go back for seconds. Happy Thanksgiving!

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