Eat Right………….See Good!: Eye Nutrients and the Thanksgiving Repast

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Eat Right………….See Good!: Eye Nutrients and the Thanksgiving Repast

A review of the common foods served at Thanksgiving and nutritional value with regard to macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  A special “thank you” to Aissa for giving me the idea for today’s post.

Grammarians………”Eat Correctly and See Well?”

As we carefully attend to every culinary detail for the big meal, I thought it might be a bit fun to dissect exactly what we are eating and how it pertains, or may pertain, to macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

  • Carbohydrates – they are composed of sugars, raises serum glucose
  • Sugars – simple table sugar (sucrose), but beware of fructose (fruit sugar), maltose (malt sugar), lactose (milk sugar, galactose and lactose.  These other sugars will raise your sugar, too.
  • Alcohol – lots of carbs, and calories.
  • β-carotene – a carotenoid, has antioxidant properties, an essential ingredient in the AREDS1 study
  • Lutein/zeaxanthin – also carotenoids, associated with some benefit in the AREDS1, but is under study currently in AREDS2
  • Omega -3 – fatty acids are suspected to be good for your retina and may, someday, be proven to slow down/improve macular degeneration.  It is under study currently in AREDS2.

The Turkey is basically safe.  Composed of protein and L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid.  My reading says the tryptophan doesn’t make us any more sleepy than any other meat.  It’s just that turkey is generally consumed with lots of carbs, etc.  Carbs cause the pancreas to increase insulin production…………sleep.  Fats slow down digestion, and thus, blood is redirected to the digestive system, and away from the brain…………….sleep.  Alcohol…………….sleep.  Get the point?

Stuffing is usually bread based and  contains a large amount of carbohydrates.  Sugars require insulin to be used by our cells/body.  Carbohydrates, ergo, raise blood glucose levels.

Stuffing with Chestnuts are still a bad choice.  While it is true that many nuts (see below) contain omega-3 fatty acids, chestnuts add to the carbohydrate load of the meal.  Walnuts, on the other hand, are great sources of omega -3 fatty acids.

Fatty fish or “cold water” fish such mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, Brazil nuts, butternuts, chia seeds, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, roasted or cooked soybeans, soybean sprouts, beans of various types, peanuts, olives, spirulina, spinach, purslane, oat germ, wheat germ, lamb, pork, Roquefort and cheddar cheese.

Gravy – I love gravy.  Most gravies contain flour/corn starch as a thickener.  Lots of carbs.  Bad for the sugar levels.

Rice is a big staple in our house.  We have rice and stuffing on Thanksgiving.  Still, lots of carbs.  But have you ever had rice and gravy?

Cranberry Sauce is really really sweet.  Any wonder it is full of carbohydrates?

Collard Greens are rich in carotenoids; lutein and zeaxanthin.  Other leafy greens that contain caratenoids include kale, broccoli, turnip greens, mustard greens, etc.   Carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin may prove to be beneficial to the retina and may slow down the progression of macular degeneration.  Eat well!

(Food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include eggs, kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn,garden peas and Brussels sprouts.)

Pumpkin Pie for dessert is a great idea.  B-carotene is an0ther type of caratenoid.  It is transformed to Vitamin A.  B-carotene is a great anti-oxidant.  Great sources of β-carotene include;  carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Amen!  May I have more?

I hope this was fun for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Comments
  • Dick November 26, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Happy Thanksgiving Dr. Wong!

  • teresa weber December 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Wow, this was so much fun! Lots of new info for me too. Thanks!

  • Josh April 16, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    😉 I think you have other big fans as well.

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