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7 Christmas foods that are good for your health

When you’re thinking about your Christmas food spread, it can be difficult to identify which foods on the table actually contain the good stuff. You might be surprised to know that actually a lot of your side dishes pack a nutritional punch and therefore can be enjoyed a plenty, alongside the classic Christmas favourites.

Perhaps after reading this, you might add a few more dishes to your festive table!

 

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Walnuts often come in beautifully presented boxes with a nutcracker around this time of year – but did you know they are actually a powerhouse of nutrition? Walnuts are packed with omega-3 and are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fatty acids are brilliant for cardiovascular health, bone health and even reducing cholesterol levels. There have all been studies linked to positive brain function. All in all, walnuts are the perfect healthy snack!

 

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The vibrant colour of red cabbage is never unnoticed – and is actually the ultimate marker that displays the full extent of antioxidants and phytochemicals it contains.  To just mention a few, some of the key nutrients red cabbage contains are folate, calcium, iron, potassium, as well as Vitamins C, A, E and K. Yes, that’s a lot in just one vegetable! So why does this mean it’s good for you? Well it has been proven to be a brilliant immune booster, as well as fighting inflammation and aiding healthy bones. Red cabbage is also often used in kimchi, a Korean food that is world famous for it’s probiotic properties. So all in all, this is an excellent addition to your Christmas vegetable spread!

 

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They may not be the nations favourite, and might bring connotations of soggy Christmas dinners, but Brussels sprouts are actually full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are good for you because they reduce stress to your cells and help lower your risk of chronic illnesses and conditions. Brussels sprouts have high antioxidant properties and are extremely high in fibre.  Fibre is beneficial for your gut and digestive activity. Brussels sprouts also contain vitamin K, which is essential for coagulation (the formation of blood clots to stop bleeding). So let the bad image of Brussels be a thing of the past – and enjoy along with some crispy bacon and chestnuts!

 

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Yes – even your centrepiece turkey has some goodness in it worth knowing about! Assuming your turkey is organic and free range rather than processed, the meat provides nutrients that can actually be enjoyed all year round. It is loaded with potassium, protein and selenium which can all help strengthen the immune system. It also contains tryptophan, which is thought to aid sleep (might also explain the post Christmas dinner nap!)

 

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The perfect condiment for your turkey and for good reason – cranberry sauce brings it’s own nutritional contribution to the table. Whilst cranberry sauce does have a few more calories than cranberries on their own, it is still full of important vitamins and minerals. The berry contains vitamin C, which is beneficial for your immune system and therefore illness prevention. Cranberries are also high in antioxidants (a key feature in this article!) and therefore excellent for heart health.

 

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Whilst you might not have smoked salmon for the main feast, it’s an excellent option for pre dinner nibbles or even a Christmas breakfast. As an oily fish, smoked salmon is brilliant for Omega-3 fatty acids, that have been shown to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure. It is also packed with B vitamins, which are important for energy production and protein, which is of course important for muscle recovery and bone health. Serve on some crackers or with scrambled egg on Christmas day!

 

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Numerous studies have been done to show the benefits of citrus fruits and clementines are a Christmas favourite, which should not be forgotten. Packed with vitamin C, clementines are excellent for your skin. They are also another great source of fibre, which promotes good gut health. Enjoy in your Christmas stocking – or in a dessert sliced up!

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