NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF FESTIVE FOODS
The festive season usually presents a wide spread of traditional foods. This could cause us to falter from our health and fitness regime. But not everything during the occasion is detrimental to your health. Here are the nutritional benefits of some common festive foods which can be beneficial for your body.
Turkey is an iconic staple during Christmas dinners and contains a wide range of nutrients that are good for your body. The consumption of a three-ounce, skinless portion of turkey meat can provide up to 25 grams of protein intake as well as essential vitamins and minerals for your body. These nutrients include selenium, zinc, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin B. White turkey meat provides a lower amount of calories and fat intake, while darker meat provides a good supply of vitamins and minerals.
Sweet potatoes are an option of healthy food that contain great antioxidants which are filled with immune-supporting vitamins A and C, as well as energy-boosting vitamin B. Sweet potatoes also contain nutrients such as potassium (which helps in regulating blood pressure), manganese (which helps produce collagen, promote skin health, and bone health), thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and are high in carotenoids. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help prevent chronic diseases which include type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This root vegetable is also fat-free, and low in sodium and calories, making it a ‘superfood’ that can be eaten baked, stuffed, roasted, mashed or whipped into a pie.
Cranberries can be eaten fresh, dried, part of a turkey stuffing or as a sauce accompaniment during festive meals. These berries contain polyphenols, antioxidants which protect the body against free radicals and help the body stave off infections. Consuming cranberries can help you overcome urinary tract infection and E.coli, whilst protecting your body from common illnesses such as flu or cough. Cranberries can also help lower the risk of specific cancers, age-related vision loss, reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, and ensure oral health by preventing bacteria from clinging to teeth.
Pumpkin pies are regarded as one of the most healthy yet beloved food staples of the festive season. These pies are delicious and contain a variety of nutrients. Pumpkins primarily contain Vitamin A, which aids vision health, boosts your immune system, prevents cognitive decline and supports the maintenance of healthy skin, teeth and bones. Pumpkins also contain fibre, potassium, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. For a healthier alternative, reduce the pie crust size to help you control the consumption of added sugar and fat.
Brussel sprouts are a nutrient-dense vegetable staple of the festive season. It can be enjoyed roasted, charred or as part of a salad. Apart from being rich in antioxidants which contain cancer-fighting properties, it also aids in improving cardiovascular health and provides good digestive system support. For a Christmas dinner flavour boost, try roasting the sprouts and adding chopped nuts or cranberries to the mix.
Selected traditional festive meals are indeed very rich in nutrients. Equipped with the aforementioned information, you need not be overly cautious with food this festive season whilst staying on track to achieve your fitness goals.