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Fall: It’s Not all about the Football!

eye careThe Fall season brings a number of seasonal pleasures that many of us look forward to months in advance. We’re not just talking about football. The joys of this season include trick-or-treating, pumpkin pie, costume contests, pumpkin seeds, early viewings of Elf in preparation for the Winter holidays, carved pumpkins, pumpkin spice lattes . . . Pumpkin is a staple of the season, and fortunately for all of us, this Fall fruit offers a host of health benefits to go along with its scrumptiousness.

Serve up some Superfood
There are several important nutrients in pumpkins, all of which will make the pumpkin-lover grin from ear to ear. Because pumpkin desserts can feel like such a guilty pleasure, there may be a concern about the effects of this indulgence on your midsection. Of course, there is a point of no return for everything, so consume wisely. However, you can feel good about the fact that pumpkins have substantial amounts of fiber and potassium, each of which are advantageous to weight management. There are also numerous ways in which pumpkin supports eye health through nutrients such as:

  • Antioxidants. Specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients keep harmful rays of light from damaging the eyes.
  • Vitamin C is a collagen building nutrient, so it benefits the skin, the circulatory system, and the eyes. Collagen is a vital protein necessary for the cornea to function properly.
  • Vitamin A. If you’ve noticed, pumpkin has a rich orange color not unlike carrots. This comes from its beta carotene content. When we consume beta carotene, the body converts it to vitamin A and uses it as needed. This could be to fight macular degeneration, or to prevent infection by supporting a healthy mucous barrier across the front of the eyes.
  • Zinc. This mineral also decreases the risk for macular degeneration, and it can also help individuals with night-blindness see better in low light settings.

Serve up the Right Food
Pumpkin cookies and muffins and cereals and shakes can be found in a number of stores and restaurants. To gain value from your pumpkin-eating parties, stick to whole-food products like roasted pumpkin or toasted pumpkin seeds. There are even recipes for every type of pumpkin spice chai latte you could imagine!

Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy Autumn season!

Posted in: Eye Health

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