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The hidden health benefits of Christmas dinner

MEAL TIME: Christmas dinner (Photo credit: Ariel Skelley / Getty Images)

BRITS CAN reap hidden health benefits by tucking into their Christmas dinner this December, according to health experts at Optical Express.

The highly anticipated Christmas meal possesses some surprising health benefits for our eyes, giving us even more of a reason to indulge in our favourite meal of the year.

Turkey

Turkey is the staple of any Christmas dinner and is a great source of lean protein which helps the body maintain healthy retinas, keeping vision sharp. It is also full of vitamins such as calcium and zinc, which help in the creation of melanin, the pigment that protects your eyes and helps you see in the dark.

Carrots and Parsnips

Seasonal vegetables such as carrots and parsnips also help preserve eye health. The bright orange vegetable contains beta-carotene, a vitamin which can stop the development of cataract. Carrots also contain antioxidants which improve macula function, meaning grandma was right, carrots do in fact help us see in the dark.

Brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts are a divisive part of the Christmas dinner and one of the most nutritious vegetables you can put on your plate. Sprouts contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which work together to protect retina health and the eye tissue that enables us to identify light and colour. Plenty of sprouts and their vitamins and minerals will help the macula block excessive blue light and therefore reduce the potential damage from computers, tablets and screens.

Cranberry Sauce

A Christmas dinner would not be complete without lashings of cranberry sauce. The little red berries contain vitamin A, vitamin C, and a high level of antioxidants which promote healthy connective tissue and collagen, which are two components of the cornea, the front part of our eye which protects the iris and pupil4.

A balanced diet is great for maintaining eye health and our Christmas dinner plates are packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients vital for maintaining good vision. Maintaining a good diet will also reduce the effects of age-related macular degeneration. So, a healthy serving of our favourite festive meal is actually a feast for our eyes as well as our stomachs.

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