This time of year many of us share meals with friends and family and eat a lot of holiday foods. Holiday foods that may not be part of our usual diet. Some of these foods may be our favorites. And, some foods we eat out of a sense of obligation and tradition. The net result- sometimes our stomach may feel upset. Our immune system may get run down. And we may put on excess weight. But, it is also true that some holiday foods can be healthy for you. Eating more of these good foods and minimizing the less healthy ones can help you survive the holidays without getting bloated, getting sick or putting on weight. Here are some of the healthy foods you may encounter on your holiday travels that we would encourage you to enjoy…
Traditional Christmas Eve foods as celebrated by Italian, and Scandanavian families consist of many fish dishes. Fish are high in good for your brain essential fatty acids . This is why fish is considered a “brain food”. The fish oil essential fatty acids also aid in fighting inflammation, and keeping your heart and arteries and joints healthy. Fish contain vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish also offer us calcium and phosphorus and minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. So enjoy plenty of your holiday fish.
Sweet potatoes, yams and squash are tasty dishes found on many holiday tables. These yellow vegetables are considered among the healthiest foods. Why? Because they are excellent sources of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) known as the anti-infection vitamin. These yellow veggies are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they offer us lots of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus. Not to mention, they taste sweet for a hearty part of meals on cold days.
More Healthy Veggies
Traditional vegetables served at an Irish holiday table include Brussel sprouts, and carrots, peas, and broccoli as well. Roasted Brussel sprouts are quite sweet and buttery inside. Brussel sprouts and broccoli are especially rich in vitamin K, necessary for blood clotting and bone health. They’re also high in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps promote iron absorption and is needed for muscle, tendon and ligament repair and immune function. Brussel sprouts’ high fiber content helps support bowel regularity and gut health (always a consideration at holiday time when normal eating times and foods are disrupted). The brassica vegetables like Brussel sprouts and broccoli contain nutrients that fight cancer, fight inflammation and keep your heart healthy. Peas are high in magnesium, a mineral good for muscle relaxation, deep sleep and heart and nerve health. Carrots are high in vitamin A that helps you fight off germs.
So enjoy plenty of these additions to your holiday meals for a tasty, healthy holiday season.