December 15, 2014
The holidays are a wonderful time of the year not only to enjoy the traditional meals, treats, and specialty dishes with your family, friends, and colleagues, but also to try brand new recipes. If you’re going to consume mass quantities of food this holiday season, why not make them healthy ones! Here’s a look at some traditional holiday ingredients that can instantly become the focal point of new healthy food surprises this season.
Cranberries Cranberries are an absolute essential during the holidays, but the best part of these delectable berries isn’t even the delicious taste they bring to your table, it’s the health benefits they provide to you and your family. At just 45 calories per cup, cranberries are considered a superfood containing loads of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.In fact, with an 8,983 total antioxidant capacity, cranberries beat out red grapes, apples, spinach, strawberries, broccoli, and almost every other fruit and vegetable when it comes to the amount of antioxidants they contain! Whether you simply include a plate of fresh cranberry slices at your table, or try your hand at a delicious homemade cranberry sauce to maintain the optimal health benefits and reduce your exposure to artificial sugars, this ingredient is a mainstay for the holidays!
Cinnamon Of all the spices on your rack, cinnamon seems to poke its head out more often than not during the holidays. Its smell and flavor really capture the quintessence of holiday spirit. As surprising as it may seem, the divine aroma and taste of cinnamon actually brings many health benefits. In fact, just the actual scent of cinnamon is one of its benefits. Studies have shown just smelling cinnamon can increase brain function. Along with improved brain function, cinnamon contains antioxidants and is an exceptional source of fiber and calcium, it has been shown to reduce inflammation and regulate blood sugar. So dash some cinnamon into your sweet potato dishes, coffee, and pumpkin pies this holiday season and soak up all the benefits!
Nutmeg Known for topping off that glass of eggnog, nutmeg is a spice accustomed in many households during the holidays. What aren’t as well known are the health benefits nutmeg brings to your holiday table. Originally used in Chinese medicine, nutmeg is known in the medical field for its anti-inflammatory properties, helping lessen the pain of muscle aches and arthritis. Nutmegs anti-inflammatory properties also help relieve toothache and gum aches. As for topical treatments, nutmeg has been known to be effective in treating acne and it’s often a popular ingredient found in skin balms.
Sweet Potatoes Don’t let the word “sweet” fool you; sweet potatoes are packed with nutrition underneath that unmistakable, delicious, and festive taste. These tuberous roots are loaded with calcium, potassium, vitamins A and C making sweet potatoes a perfect option for sneaking that nutritional punch into your diet during the holidays. Sweet Potatoes are higher in fiber and lower in calories and total carbohydrates than their sister spud the traditional white potato.
Pumpkins Though they may reach their peak usage during Halloween, pumpkins often stick around for Thanksgiving and Christmas in pies, breads, and a whole host of other items. And while those may sound like sweets, it must be pointed out that pumpkins possess a ton of beneficial properties. They are a goodsource of fiber, which slows digestion (keeping you feeling fuller longer) and vitamins A, C, and E. And while pumpkin may be filling, it’s certainly not going to go straight to your waist as the orange fruit (yes, Pumpkin is a fruit!) is considered to be very low in calories.While eating during the holidays don’t forget to take care of your body from the inside out by supplementing with beneficial bacteria like those found in Natren’s probiotics. Probiotics can help prevent against minor gas, maintain digestive regularity, assist in the breakdown of carbohydrates, protein and lactose, produce Vitamin B and optimize intestinal health.
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