By Nutrition Blogger Jeni Tackett, RD, LD
I am a child of the 70’s, and Santa used to fill my stocking with walnuts and oranges. To this day, the taste of walnuts and oranges is very comforting to me. Holiday foods such as walnuts, oranges, pumpkins, cranberries, and spices can be comforting and bring back memories of years past. As a bonus, these foods and spices have nutritional benefits making them good choices all year long!
Here are some health benefits from some holiday favorites:
Walnuts are rich in plant-based Omega 3 fatty acids, which are lacking in the typical American diet. Eating walnuts regularly may help lower your bad LDL cholesterol. Walnuts are also linked to reduced type 2 diabetes risk, improved memory, and reduced cancer risk. Walnuts are packed with phytochemicals, along with fiber and healthy fats. Fill a bowl with walnuts and get out a nutcracker for a healthy, festive snack!
Oranges are delicious this time of year and can serve as the perfect snack or after meal dessert. Oranges are rich in vitamin C which is important for immune function to keep you well during cold and flu season. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant protecting your cells from damage. Eating a whole orange instead of just drinking the juice gives you fiber, which is filling and important for intestinal health.
A cranberry salad is often a favorite part of holiday meals. Cranberries also contain the antioxidant vitamin C which is important for immune function and healthy cells. Cranberries are packed with phytochemicals linked to heart health and reduced cancer risk. Cranberries also help protect against urinary tract infections.
Pumpkin is a wonderful source of vitamin A or beta carotene which is essential for healthy eyes and skin. Pumpkin is also a source of vitamin C for improved immune function. The fiber in pumpkin can help with increased satisfaction after a meal and weight loss. Try this recipe for turkey pumpkin chili!
*Cinnamon is a popular spice which may have some anti-inflammatory benefits. Cinnamon is comforting, calorie free, and delicious!
*Ginger has a calming effect which can help with indigestion. Ginger also may be an anti-inflammatory and help protect cells from damage. Fresh minced ginger smells wonderful and adds rich flavor to meals.
Traditional holiday food can improve your health, strengthen your immune system, and keep you feeling satisfied this season!
|Meet Jeni Tackett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger. Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Rock Valley Health. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition. You can read Jeni’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.|