Thanksgiving Foods That are Good for Your Eyes and Teeth

Feel better about what you’re eating this Thanksgiving.

It’s a feast faceoff. We’re showing you the pros and cons of Thanksgiving foods when it comes to your vision and dental health.

The main attraction. It’s rare that a Thanksgiving meal goes without the bird. But how does it fare for your eyes and teeth?

Eyes: A win! Turkey has tons of zinc and niacin, which help prevent the formation of cataracts—the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S.

Teeth: Not bad. We’ve all experienced the turkey-between-the-teeth situation, but it’s nothing a little floss can’t fix.

Cranberry Sauce 
The “fruit-portion” of the feast. It may not be the most nutritional dish, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Eyes: A win! Cranberries contain vitamin C and antioxidants called bioflavonoids. Both of these can help protect the eyes from cell damage caused by pollution and other biochemical reactions in the body.

Teeth: A loss. Lots of sugar or sugar substitutes are often added to cranberry sauce recipes to counter the natural tartness of the berry. Cranberry sauce is also sticky, acidic and may temporarily stain your teeth. 

Sweet Potatoes
This orange starch goes great in all kinds of Thanksgiving foods. And it has some great added benefits for your eyes and teeth.

Eyes: A win! Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins A, C and E. These can help prevent or delay the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Teeth: Another win! Vitamin A and C are also great for your gums. Substitute your regular mashed potatoes for sweet potatoes and double the health benefits for your eyes and teeth.

Green Bean Casserole
You have to mix in a vegetable somehow, and there’s no tastier way than with a delicious green bean casserole.

Eyes: A win! Green beans contain two nutrients called lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the retina. They reduce the risk of light-induced oxidative damage by blocking blue light from reaching the retina.

Teeth: Not bad. Green beans are healthy but can get stuck in your teeth, like turkey. Again, unless you’re trying to impress the in-laws, this isn’t a huge loss for your teeth.

Pumpkin Pie
Can’t forget dessert. Pumpkin pie is a dessert for a reason, but you’ll be surprised how far a little pumpkin can go.

Eyes: A win! Pumpkin contains more than 200% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which provides nourishment and protection to the eye’s macula, lens and cornea and improves night vision. 

Teeth: Another win! Again, pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin A, which helps improve gum health and build enamel on your teeth.

Eating the right foods isn’t enough when it comes to proper vision and dental care. Keep up with visits to the eye doctor and dentist.

Garnished Thanksgiving turkey surrounded by sides on a table

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