The holiday season is right around the corner meaning we get to look forward to family time, snowball fights and festive foods. Whether you prefer indulging in latkas and apple sauce, samosas, jollof rice or eggnog, the holidays are often a time when we are likely to take time to enjoy food (and maybe even pack some pounds). If you’re looking for healthier foods, try incorporating some of the following foods in your arsenal of winter dishes.
Give your momma a call, because she was right! Chicken soup helps you recover from seasonal colds by reducing inflammation and reducing mucus formation. Try opting for a home-made recipe with less salt than store brand soup after a long day of skating or shopping.
Despite its bitter taste, bitter melon is a popular food item in Asia and the Caribbean. You may want to check out some Indian and Chinese recipes with bitter melon if you suffer from type 2 diabetes since this gourd has been found to help with the management of the disease. However, keep in mind that bitter melon has an acquired taste and you may not enjoy it your first time. Additionally, bitter melon should not be consumed by children or pregnant women.
The aroma of Cinnamon is often encountered in department stores, coffee shops and scented candles during the holiday season. Research suggests that cinnamon may decrease inflammation, act as an antioxidant (see below), and improve insulin sensitivity (insulin resistance is a problem in type 2 diabetes). So if you enjoy the flavor of this spice, feel free to sprinkle a little extra on your favourite latte.
Ginger is another common holiday aroma and flavour (mmm Gingerbread!). Ginger has long been used for cold relief, anti-nausea and pro-digestion. To increase your intake of ginger, try ginger tea, ginger hard-candies or adding it to sautéed dishes. Note: pregnant women and individuals with high blood pressure should not consume large quantities of ginger.
The consumption of omega 3 from sources such as fortified eggs, winter squash, walnuts, flaxseeds and seafood such as salmon and anchovies may improve cholesterol levels, protect the heart and contribute to brain function.
In an ironic twist of nature, humans need oxygen to live, yet oxygen also damages cells (thus contributing to aging) in a process known as oxidation. Fortunately fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants which protect cells from damage. Try serving more raw fruits and vegetables as finger foods for family and holiday guests. Red wine (1 glass/day for women and 2/day for men) and dark chocolate are also antioxidants-rich treats.
From the CCCT, happy holidays and good health to you and your loved ones!
Disclaimer: be sure to speak with a doctor before making drastic changes to your diet.