Tips to avoid over-indulging during the holidays are endless and can often set you up for failure. We asked nutritionist Cristina Tahoces about the unknown nutritional benefits of traditional holiday foods and drinks – so that you celebrate the holidays guilt-free. After all, holiday festivities are meant to celebrate good times with family and friends and yes that includes enjoying foods and beverages you normally wouldn’t have on a regular basis.
Nutritional benefits of holiday drinks
The favorite Christmas drink in our household is mulled wine and whilst it contains copious amount of sugar, which of course is naughty, there are compounds found in red wine that are worth celebrating. Red wine actually contains flavonoids, antioxidants and a polyphenol called resveratrol which can lower your risk of heart disease. Resveratrol acts to reduce your risk for blood clots and can help increase your beneficial HDL cholesterol. So next time your family is stressing you out during the holidays, raise a glass of red wine to your health and theirs!
Nutritional benefits of holiday foods
I am big fan of the traditional Christmas meal with the golden roast turkey, brussel sprouts and roasted carrots and root vegetables. There is so much nutritious goodness in that meal that many people take for granted.
1. Turkey is rich in zinc, a mineral crucial to building immunity.
2. Cruciferous vegetables like brussel sprouts & broccoli are rich in “diindolymethane” or DIM – a compound which supports healthy estrogen metabolism and can help protect against estrogen dominant cancers and other excess estrogen-related symptoms like ovarian cysts or even menstrual cramps.
3. Carrots are the best natural source of beta-carotene, the precursor for Vitamin A, which helps fight off infections by giving your white blood cells a boost.
The festive salads which also tend to accompany the Christmas meal are also rich in raw enzymes to help digestion along. You can even add superfoods like parsley and coriander to your salad for that detoxifying punch, as well as pomegranate for some Christmas colour and a hit of Vitamin C to boost immunity. Or how about some mandarin slices? Rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, these seasonal, citrus fruits are perfect for boosting immunity during the winter.
After your big meal, serving a ginger tea can be a digestion saver that helps alleviate the bloating, gas and indigestion which are so common over the holidays.