Benefits of brussels …

Posted on December 25, 2011

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… & other festive foods!

Don’t you get really bored at this time of year of reading time and time again how many calories you consume eating a traditional Christmas Dinner?  I do … so time for a backlash because on the flip side, pretty much all the festive foods we shall eat today have their own benefits too …

Turkey  

Turkey is a great source of high quality protein as well as being low in fat … especially when the skin is removed.  Turkey is also rich in vitamins B3 and B6 (important for brain health and energy production), zinc and selenium (good for the immune system and skin) and tryptophan, which can help to boost your mood.

Chestnuts 

Unlike most nuts, chestnuts are surprisingly low in fat and also an excellent source of vitamin C. They are also a good source of protein, fibre and nutrients, including iron, B vitamins and folate.

Cranberry sauce 

Cranberry sauce is packed with antioxidants and nutrients essential for good health. They are renowned for their ability to prevent and treat urinary tract infections such as cystitis and also reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

Brussels sprouts 

Too many people hate sprouts – is it because they make people fart?  I LOVE them. By tucking into your sprouts on Christmas day, you are filling your body with essential nutrients, in particular vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids (great for the heart and brain) and cancer-fighting substances, glucosinolates.

Carrots 

Carrots help you to see in the dark … or so my mum has spent my lifetime telling me … and it turns out it’s actually true! They are packed with carotenoids such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein, which help to protect vision and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, as well as helping to protect against cancer.

Roast potatoes 

Roast potatoes can get a bad press … I for one, often give them a wide berth but they are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C and the essential electrolyte potassium – even when roasted. Also, their skins are rich in phytonutrients such as flavonoids which can help to prevent heart disease. Spud u like!

Parsnips 

Parsnips are low in calories but high in fibre making them a perfect healthy accompaniment to your Christmas dinner. They are also high in folate, which reduces risk of high blood pressure and helps prevent birth defects in unborn babies.

Christmas pudding

Well, I won’t try to argue that Christmas cakes and puddings are low in fat, but a large proportion of their ingredients is dried fruit which counts towards your daily portions of fruit and veg and is high in nutrients and fibre. They are also packed with health-boosting spices such as cinnamon, which can help control blood sugar levels and has anti-inflammatory properties, and nutmeg, which is good for digestion. Enough said!

Wine 

Stick with red wine and lap up all those antioxidants that help to reduce the risk of heart disease, protect against cancer and fight against wrinkles. Of course, it’s no good drinking it to great excess but then again, if you’ve been good … most of the year … then I think you deserve it!

Happy Christmas!

 

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