By Brittany Flax on Dec 23, 2019 @ 11:00 AM
Dinner parties, family gatherings, corporate outings -- the holiday season is here! We’re used to this time of year taking a toll on our wallets and waistlines, but if you’re not careful, it could also affect your teeth and vision! Candy canes, gingerbread houses, Christmas cookies, potato latkes, Hanukkah gelt -- all these sweet and savory traditions can do some serious damage.
Dark Chocolate: Now we know you can’t kick the sweet tooth – and we’re not asking you to! Try to replace milk chocolate or white chocolate this season for dark chocolate treats. Believe it or not, it’s a much healthier option! Dark chocolate has antioxidants that can help lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease and inflammation. Recent studies have also found that compounds in dark chocolate are more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities and can help fight against plaque!
Matzo Ball Soup: Put down the potato latkes and the gelt, and grab yourself a nice, warm bowl of matzo ball soup! Filled with vitamins and nutrients, this comforting holiday soup is both delicious and beneficial to your body. Add some carrots for extra flavor and eye health benefits. One thing you should keep your eye on however, is the amount of salt in this soup, as sodium levels could already be high. Too much salt in your diet can increase your risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
Hot Cocoa: Eggnog, who? Grab some hot cocoa instead! Filled with so many health benefits, you’ll want to keep getting up for more! Cocoa powder is rich in polyphenols which is a naturally occurring antioxidant -- it helps to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels and can help improve symptoms of type 2 diabetes. It can also lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, increase blood flow and brain function, as well as improve your mood. As if that isn’t enough, cocoa is great for your teeth because it has antibacterial and immune stimulating properties that can have protective effects against dental cavities and gum disease! However, moderate your consumption as it’s still filled with sugar.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Forget the butter, sour cream and cheese – mashed sweet potatoes are good as is! Sweet potatoes are a great source in fiber, vitamins and minerals, making this one vegetable a breeze to scarf down. Rich in beta-carotene which our body converts into vitamin A, it supports healthy vision by helping form light-detecting receptors inside your eyes and can help prevent xerophthalmia which is a special type of blindness.
Fresh Fruits: Now as much as we’d love to eat starches and sweets all season long, don’t forget to grab some fresh fruit too! Essential to improving your overall health, fruit can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, inflammation and diabetes! Citrus fruits and berries are said to be especially powerful in preventing diseases and are filled with vitamin C, which is great for both your vision and oral health! For an extra treat – melt some dark chocolate and add it to sweet fruits like bananas, mangos and strawberries! Don’t forget to brush and floss after as fruits are naturally filled with sugar too.
As you enjoy this holiday season, remember there are healthier options for you to choose from before you reach for the traditional sweet and savory treats. To keep in the spirit of a happy and healthy holiday, learn more about other foods that can be helpful (or harmful) to your eyesight by downloading our infographic today!