Looking for the best Mexican food anywhere on the face of planet earth? We must admit: a trip south to Mexico would be in order!
However, if you’re north of the border, Tucson is where you want to be, in our humble opinion. That’s an opinion we happen to share with the organizers of The Tucson 23: Mexican Food Festival.
Now in its third year of operation, the Tucson 23 is a one-day festival celebrating the dozens (if not hundreds) of excellent, authentic Mexican eateries packed into just 23 square miles of South Tucson, downtown, and midtown.
Located at the J.W. Marriott Star Pass Resort on June 16 (tickets required), the event will feature food from dozens of local restaurants, a wide selection of drinks (beer, wine, and non-alcoholic), and live music—and it’s appropriate for all ages.
Anyway, while our stomachs are already growling for some delicious Mexican food, the topic has us thinking about the important role that diet plays in keeping you healthy.
Now, everyone knows that eating a ton of candy will rot your teeth and expand your waistline, but they aren’t the only body parts affected by diet. Even your feet and eyes depend on a steady supply of nutritious food to stay in top shape.
What you put in, as they as say, determines what you get out.
Healthy Eating for Eyes
At this point, everyone and their brother has probably heard that eating carrots is good for your vision. That’s not altogether inaccurate—carrots are indeed packed with nutrients essential for eye health. But there’s a lot more to eye health than that!
Eating right, unfortunately, isn’t going to give you super vision, or get rid of your need for glasses. It won’t fix your nearsightedness or farsightedness, or improve your existing visual acuity.
However, a healthy diet can be extremely effective in maintaining healthy eyesight as long as possible. Most importantly, it can delay or prevent two of the most significant causes of vision loss and blindness—cataracts and macular degeneration.
Of course, another leading cause of vision loss is diabetes, and healthy eating helps with that, too.
A balanced diet for eye health is rich in various essential nutrients, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Omega-3 fatty acid
- Antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin
For example, carrots—that legendary eye food? They’re packed with Vitamin A and lutein, among other vital nutrients.
Some other healthy eye foods include:
- Fish and most seafood. They’re a great source of Omega-3s.
- Spinach, kale, broccoli, and other greens are an awesome source of antioxidants.
- More colorful fruits and veggies (citrus, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkin, strawberries) typically bring a ton of vitamins A and C.
- Seeds, nuts, beans, legumes, and other great non-meat sources of protein.
- Beef, in moderation, is a pretty good source of zinc—which is hugely important for retinal health. Ideally, you’d be choosing leaner cuts, but we’ll make an exception for taco night.
Healthy Eating for Feet
Good news! Most of the same nutrients that benefit the eyes also contribute to foot health. (Funny how that works.)
Omega-3 fatty acids, veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean protein—there’s a reason these sorts of menu items pop up again and again on just about every healthy diet plan.
When it comes to foot health, though, there’s a few other items we’d like to highlight.
Osteoporosis. You have more than 50 bones (a quarter of your body’s full set) located in the feet and ankles alone. A good chunk of them are expected to bear your full weight and withstand the significant forces of walking, running, and jumping.
Unsurprisingly, when you lose bone strength and density, your foot bones become fragile and prone to breaking. Eating a diet rich in calcium, Vitamin D, and protein help bones stay strong. Low-fat dairy is one of the best dietary sources of these elements. Depending on your age and health risks, you might also consider taking supplements.
Diabetes. Few conditions jeopardize the long-term health of your feet (and eyes, for that matter) like diabetes. Elevated levels of sugar in the bloodstream have a toxic effect on circulation and nerve health in the extremities, particularly the feet and toes.
What this means is that, over time, you gradually lose the ability to naturally “feel” the pain that would signify a problem, as well as heal and repair wounds and fight off infections. People with diabetes are much more susceptible to developing infected ulcers on their feet, a condition that often forces an amputation.
Eating a healthy diet is, of course, critical to keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range—which in turn slows the progression of damage to both feet and eyes.
Again, you’re already familiar with the foods on a healthy eating list—fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, etc. It’s just as important to avoid foods that are correlated with an increase in blood sugar, such as sugary sodas, processed carbs, trans fats, and the like.
So Should I Skip The Tucson 23?
We’d never try to stand between you and some delicious Mexican food!
That said, it’s important to be aware of what you’re putting in your body and make smart decisions about what, and how much, to eat. You can select dishes with a higher proportion of greens and seafood, for starters. And you can learn discipline when it comes to portion sizes and balancing your meals.
In other words, we’re not saying you can’t ever have a pambazo! The point isn’t to deny yourself anything tasty ever again. The point is to get the essential nutrients and energy you need, and restrict your intake of less-than-healthy meals to fewer and more moderate portions.
So go ahead and enjoy whatever traditional cuisine you like best, whether it’s Mexican, Mediterranean, Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, Italian, or anything else! Just be smart, be healthy, and be happy! It’s the best way to keep your feet and eyes healthy while still enjoying the best of what life has to offer you.
Have a concern about your feet or eyes? Need a routine checkup? Give Head to Toe Healthcare in Tucson a call today at (520) 545-0202.