10 Healthy Superfoods to Include on Your Holiday Table

Yes, you can face the holiday season armed with the knowledge that festive meals and snacks don’t have to be glorified junk food that pack on the pounds.

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<strong>1) Carrots</strong>

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Carrots for the Holidays

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Carrots contain plenty of antioxidants, such as carotenoids, which may cut the risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Blood sugar and immune function may be brought back into balance through carrots’ antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Deficiencies of vitamin A can be repaired by eating enough carrots and other foods with beta-carotene.

Source:

Carrots: Health Benefits and Precautions
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270191.php

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<strong>2) Cranberries</strong>

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Cranberries for the Holidays

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Cranberries provide vitamins C and E, among other antioxidants. Their fiber content may reduce bad cholesterol levels.

Risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, urinary tract infections and other illnesses may decrease when your consumption of cranberries increase.

Cranberries are often used in sauce, or as juice for holiday cocktails, with or without alcohol.

Source:

Cranberries
http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/healthy…

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<strong>3) Garlic</strong>

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Garlic for the Holidays

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Garlic may be beneficial for coronary heart disease, hardening of the arteries, heart attack, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

It may contribute to the prevention of breast, colon, lung, prostate, rectal and stomach cancers.

Source:

Garlic: Health Benefits, Therapeutic Benefits
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265853.php

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<strong>4) Green beans</strong>

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Green Beans for the Holidays

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Green beans contain healthy amounts of vitamins A, C and K, along with folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin and thiamin.

Eating green beans may reduce risk for diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Their chlorophyll content may reduce carcinogenic risks from foods grilled to the point of charring.

Iron and folic acid may support healthy pregnancies. Folate may elevate mood, enhance sleep health and appetite, and lower homocysteine levels.

Source:

What are the health benefits of green beans?
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/285753.php

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<strong>5) Onions</strong>

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Onions for the Holidays

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Onions contain vitamin C which defend against free radical formation, helping to protect against several types of cancer.

Vitamin C builds and maintains collagen production, benefitting hair and skin.

Folate may help relieve depression by controlling homocysteine production so it doesn’t stop nutrients and blood from getting to the brain.

By inhibiting homocysteine, folate makes way for dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin (hormones that improve appetite, mood and sleep).

Source:

Onions: Health Benefits, Nutritional Information
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/276714.php

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<strong>6) Pecans</strong>

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Pecans for the Holidays

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Eating pecans can increase the body’s antioxidant levels. They contain several forms of vitamin E.

According to the Journal of Nutrition, a study performed by Loma Linda showed eating pecans lowered LDL cholesterol levels by 16.5 percent.

Eating pecans may reduce artery inflammation and reduce the risk for cardiovascular conditions.

Source:

The antioxidants in pecans may contribute to heart health and disease prevention
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224145607.htm

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<strong>7) Pumpkin</strong>

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Pumpkin for the Holidays

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Pumpkins, like other winter squash, are full of fiber, and full of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Vitamin A is important for nasal passage health, helping to protect against colds and flu.

Beta-carotene is beneficial for your eyes. It may reduce risk for atherosclerosis and for some cancers.

Source:

Superfood: Turkey
http://www.bhg.com/recipes/healthy/eating/holiday-superfoods

Pumpkin
http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/healthy…

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<strong>8) Sweet potatoes</strong>

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Sweet Potatoes for the Holidays

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Sweet potatoes contain high levels of vitamins A, B5, B6, carotenoids, niacin, riboflavin, manganese and potassium.

Vitamin A may help to prevent cancer, and is beneficial to eye health. Vitamin A can hinder sun damage.

Vitamin B6 can help reduce homocysteine. Vitamins C and E support healthy skin and collagen production.

The beta-carotene in sweet potatoes may decrease breast cancer risk in women before menopause, and ovarian cancer risk after menopause. Their fiber content helps to support digestive tract health and good digestion.

Manganese helps regulate metabolism of carbohydrates and blood sugar levels, and maybe even your appetite.

Potassium is important for heart health and a regular heartbeat and keeping blood pressure nice and low.

Sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index, which means sugar moves slowly into the bloodstream. They contain no fat, and small amounts of sodium.

Source:

Sweet Potatoes: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts
http://www.livescience.com/46016-sweet-potato-nutrition.html

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<strong>9) Yams</strong>

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Yams for the Holidays

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Many people confuse yam with sweet potatoes, though they are more starchy than sweet potatoes. They are also drier.

Their complex carbohydrate content decrease the likelihood of blood sugar spikes, putting yams low on the glycemic index.

Yams contain plentiful dietary fiber, which decreases incidence of constipation and may help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol.

Yams contain vitamins A, B6, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and thiamin. Their vitamin C content enhances the immune system, growing bones and healing of injuries.

Vitamin A supports mucus membrane and skin health. It’s good for night vision and may help defend against cancer in the lungs or in the oral cavity.

Yams contain copper, calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus and potassium. Potassium regulates blood pressure and heart rate. Copper and iron assist in the manufacture of red blood cells.

Source:

Yams nutrition facts
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/yams.html

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<strong>10) Turkey</strong>

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Turkey for the Holidays

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Turkey provides vitamins B6 and B12, choline, niacin, selenium and zinc. Turkey’s protein helps to regulate insulin levels.

The healthiest choice is organic, pasture-raised turkey which were raised without antibiotics. These turkeys have higher omega-3 essential fatty acid content. They are less likely to contain injected preservatives like salt.

Source:

What are the health benefits of turkey?
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/285736.php

Tags: carrots, cranberries, garlic, green beans, onions, pecans, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yams, turkey

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