The surprising benefits of Christmas Day dinner
We associate the big Christmas Day meal with overindulgence and gluttony, but it’s not as unhealthy as you think. See below all the benefits you get from different foods you will be enjoying over the festive season.
They contain more than your daily requirement of vitamin K and plenty of B vitamins such as folate, which is important in energy production. Steam them to retain as many nutrients as possible.
A great source of protein particularly the white meat, so go for the breast and watch out for the fatty skin. Turkey also contains an amino acid called tryptophan, important for serotonin production , known as the happy hormone even though some of you will already using this hormone before you have eaten your turkey
Potatoes are a good source of potassium and starchy carbohydrate. However they are best boiled in their skins. Careful with portion sizes of your roasties, just 3-4 will do. The downside of roast potatoes is that we often remove the skins (where the fibre is). Plus lots of calories are added when cooked in fat.
Parsnips are another source of fibre, potassium and also vitamin C. Be careful how you are cooking these as adding honey or parmesan can add calories.
Protect your heart with a glass of this fortified wine, which contains polyphenols to stop “bad” cholesterol building up as a deposit on blood vessel walls.
Sherry also increases “good” cholesterol, which experts believe carries harmful cholesterol away from the arteries and back towards the liver.
Red wine is rich in anthocyanin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. But doesn’t mean you have to drink the bottle as there are still calories you need to be aware of.
Cranberries also contain anthocyanin (giving them their bright red colour) and plenty of vitamin C. Sadly, though not much can be gained from the cranberry sauce, just have a little as possible as it has a high sugar content.
Make sure you pop a spoonful of this sauce on to your plate because it is packed with antioxidants and nutrients essential for good health.
red cabbage can give your body a nutritional boost. The deep colour in red cabbage comes from a group of compounds called flavonoids. These have been well studied in recent years, and are known to deliver a broad array of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
Yes, it’s a stodgy and calorific treat but Christmas pud is also packed with dried fruit, nutrients and fibre.You can also benefit from spices such as cinnamon, which helps control blood sugar levels, and nutmeg, a great digestion aid.
For all you chocolate hollics out there
Chocolate contains flavanols, thought to reduce memory loss in older people, improve your skin and reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol, potentially cutting your risk of heart disease.
Enjoy your Christmas dinner and try not to eat too much!