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Nutrient - Seeing the light - eye care

By Nutri People

Following the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, in October, we like to light up the skies again in November with a traditional British bonfire and fireworks night. These celebrations bring a brighter note to the arrival of winter and distract us, temporarily, from the long, dark evenings. While these traditions are fun, they also signal the need to adjust to winter living.

It’s important to be able to see and be seen at this time of year, as we adjust to driving or walking home from work or school in the dark. Checking your headlights are clean and working and ensuring your children wear high visability clothing are obvious steps to take. However, have you thought about how well your eyes and ears are working? These are key to safely negotiating the streets after dark.

Beta carotene is a nutrient found in our seasonal pumpkin and other red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. These are not just tasty but help us to be able to see in the dark, because beta carotene converts to vitamin A, the key vitamin for eye health.

It is also a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your cell membranes from antioxidant damage and support the immune system in the face of winter ills. If you are diabetic, exercise or drink alcohol frequently, your beta carotene levels may also need a top up this winter.

Beta carotene works synergistically with zinc, vitamin C and other antioxidants to support your immune system. Since a congested head, that often accompanies a bad cold or flu, can also affect your hearing, giving yourself a winter top-up of key nutrients is prudent.

Children, too, need to stay healthy and alert on dark winter mornings and a good multivitamin, fish oil and and vitamin C may help to keep your child ‘bright eyed’, bushy tailed and alert to the hazards around them on the way to school each day.  

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