Have a ho ho healthier Christmas!
Stacey Lockyer, British Nutrition Foundation
While it's very easy to overindulge on less healthy foods and drinks during the festive season, you may be surprised to know that many traditional Christmas foods are very nutritious and can make health claims on the nutrients they provide*. When filling up your plate during special meals, try not to forget to include plenty of fruit and vegetables which all provide fibre, vitamins and minerals. Listed below are some traditional festive foods and how they can support good health.
Brussels sprouts - love them or hate them, they are a source of potassium, vitamin B6 and are high in folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. Vitamin K contributes to normal blood clotting and also contributes to the maintenance of normal bones.
Carrots are high in carotenoids which our bodies can convert to vitamin A. Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal vision.
Chestnuts are a source of potassium, which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure so get roasting! If you’re looking for a festive snack, why not try a handful of unsalted mixed nuts which provide a variety of vitamins and minerals plus protein, fibre and unsaturated fat.
Traditionally a stocking filler, citrus fruits (e.g. clementines, satsumas and tangerines) are high in vitamin C and are also a source of thiamin which contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system.
Cranberries are high in vitamin C which contributes to the normal function of the immune system and also increases absorption of iron present in plant foods. Products made with cranberries can be high in sugar so why not try making your own with fresh or frozen cranberries.
Dates are high in potassium and are also a source of iron, vitamin B6 and niacin. Iron contributes to normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin.
Parsnips are a source of vitamin C and folate. Folate contributes to normal psychological function and blood formation.
Why not try drizzling your veg with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil instead of using butter? Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet has been shown to lower blood cholesterol and olive oil polyphenols contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress.
Let us know your tips to keep Christmas healthier by using the Contact Us link above.
*Health claims made on foods and drinks in Europe are regulated by the EC and only those approved by experts can be used – for more details see https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims_en.