Festive Holiday Foods to Delight Your Tastebuds

December 22, 2014

The top picks for nutrition and taste this holiday season are here.

Christmas is here, and whether you celebrate or not, what better way to enjoy the holiday spirit than with the season’s most powerful festive fruits and vegetables. Here are the top picks for nutrition and taste this holiday season.

Cranberries. We all know that cranberries are linked to beneficial urinary tract and bladder health, but the benefits of these tart red fruits are much more. Containing many powerful phytonutrients, cranberries are cancer-preventive; known to extend to cancers of the breast, colon, lung, and prostate. For the cardiovascular system and for many parts of the digestive tract (including the mouth and gums, stomach, and colon) cranberry has been shown to provide important anti-inflammatory benefits. Cranberries are also rich in vitamin C, fiber and manganese. 

Beets. Known for their rich red pigment, beets contain a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains – which have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Recent lab studies using betanin pigments from beets have shown to lessen tumor cell growth through a number of mechanisms, including inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzymes. Beets are rich in folate, fiber, potassium and iron.

Brussels Sprouts. Not only did your grandmother insist you eat your portions, brussels are rich in antioxidants, which provide anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular support. In fact, if you steam your sprouts, they may help to reduce cholesterol levels by binding with bile acids in the digestive tract. Moreover, a recent study has shown improved stability of DNA inside of our white blood cells after daily consumption of 1.25 cups of Brussels sprouts. Brussels are also cancer protective and rich in vitamin K, C folate, fiber and more.

Pomegranate. Compounds found only in pomegranates called punicalagins are shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagins are the major component responsible for pomegranates’ antioxidant and health benefits They not only lower cholesterol, but also lower blood pressure and increase the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away. Generally pomegranates contain potent anti-cancer and immune supporting effects. And they may have benefits to relieve or protect against depression and osteoporosis.

Raspberries. Not only are raspberries delicious but they are also promoters of good health. The anti-cancer benefits of raspberries have long been attributed to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Raspberries are also being studied for their anti-obesity and blood sugar regulating properties. These delicious berries are also rich in vitamin C, K, fiber and omega-3s.

Swiss chard. Recent research has shown that chard leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, including kaempferol, the cardioprotective flavonoid as well as a flavonoid called syringic acid which recent research has demonstrated its blood sugar regulating properties. What about the colors? Many of the betalain pigments (red and yellow) in chard have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Chard is also rich in vitamin K, A, C, magnesium, iron, vitamin E, fiber, and more!

What ever you choose, or choose them all, enjoy your holiday festive meals!

Resources: WhFoods