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Food is meant to be celebrated! Since ancient times, food has been a gift from the earth bursting with super-nutrients and delicious flavors. The traditional calendar indicated that celebrations, such as harvest festivals and seasonal merriments, were in-tune with spring equinoxes and summer solstices. People would feast on what the earth had given them – produce that was in season, local and fresh.
The festive season right now is no different. It should be a time of fun and family, and with that comes delicious food. However, we have somehow equated ‘delicious’ with processed, high fat, and high sugar cakes, pastries and an abundance of saturated fatty meats. Ready meals, convenience-based pies and hams, and pre-packaged goodies that are intensely sweetened, salted, and laden with preservatives and colorings are the norm. We barely recognize the food we eat.
We certainly still want to enjoy the foods that are a traditional part of our cultural or local holiday celebrations but without all the harmful additives. Can we change our focus this holiday season? Instead of feeling guilty about all the things we shouldn’t eat, can we feast on powerful superfoods that taste yummy, too? Is there anything we can do differently this year to keep our energy levels up and our health glowing?
The festive season is adorned with everything green and red, so why not apply this theme by adding wonderful green and red superfoods to your diet? This holiday season, we can feel good inside and out by including these colorful nutrient ‘power packs’ to give us an all-round energy boost.
Superfoods are a rich source of nutrients, packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fats that are remarkably beneficial for your health. They are thought to help prevent heart disease and cancer, as well as protect your body from cellular breakdown and damage. In a season filled with turkeys, champagne, and rich desserts, rescue your body from the food-induced comas by adding these give festive, green and red superfoods to your table.
Kale is almost too good to be true. Filled with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A, B, C and K, kale also packs a punch full of protein. Although all the green veggies, including spinach and collards, are excellent for your health, research shows that kale has even more powerful preventive effects than its other green leafy counterparts. It may also play a role in the prevention of heart disease and the reduction of risk for age-related eye diseases.
Tip: For delicious kale chips, brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle yummy Himalayan pink salt before crisping up the kale pieces in a hot oven for a few minutes. Throw a large handful of fresh kale into your NutriBullet, along with a banana, some unsweetened almond milk and a scoop of plant-based NutriBullet Protein Blend+ for an energizing and festive green morning smoothie.
These astringent small fruits are loaded with unique phytochemicals, such as proanthocyanidins and phenolic acids, which support almost every major organ system in the body. Eating more cranberries may help improve cardiovascular health and digestive health while fighting inflammation. Just be aware that many of the commercial brands have lots of added sugar.
Tip: Try using pure, cranberry juice to add a tart kick to a salad dressing. Skip the canned variety and make your own cranberry sauce for your roast meat. And for dessert, bake whole cranberries into your favorite healthy treats.
Avocados deserve a special place amongst the superfood list. High in fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium, avocados are an excellent substitute for butter and margarines during the festive season. Because of their high percentage of healthy monounsaturated or ‘good’ fat, avocados may help lower cholesterol levels. With their numerous healthy fats and nutrients, avocados also have a powerful healing effect on heart and brain cells.
Tip: Slice them over your salads or make your own homemade guacamole in your NutriBullet, rather than purchasing the store-bought versions that are filled with added synthetic fats and preservatives.
A welcomed addition to your festive superfood list is red wine. The phytochemical in red wine, resveratrol, is thought to be the most powerful naturally occurring superfood. But remember: although it’s the holiday season, drink responsibly and in moderation. Once you consume more than one glass of wine, the toxic effects of excess alcohol will undo all of the healthful properties and begin to harm all parts of the body.
Kiwis offer a rich and abundant source of antioxidants and act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent in the body. On top of being an excellent source of vitamin C, kiwifruits contain very high percentages of fiber, vitamin E and essential minerals including iron, magnesium and zinc.
Tip: Peel, slice and add fresh kiwis to your Christmas salads and fruit platters or just throw one or two into your morning smoothie to energize your body!
Add more festive colors to your holiday meals this season with red and green superfoods! Naturally red foods, like tomatoes, contain high levels of antioxidants such as lycopene. Green foods are also rich in antioxidants, along with detoxifying and cleansing properties to help you feel great from the inside out. So go on – enjoy those drinks in moderation, eat plenty of super festive superfoods, and be merry!
Dr. Linda Friedland is a medical doctor, media personality, best-selling author of seven books and sought-after international speaker. She is an authority on executive and corporate health, women’s wellbeing, as well as stress management, resilience, and performance.
With a professional career of more than 20 years in clinical medicine and over a decade of healthcare advisory and consulting, Dr Friedland is a leading authority on health and performance. She is an international advisor to many of Fortune and Forbes' top global companies, and she designs and implementshealth, lifestyle, and disease prevention programs. A highly-rated international speaker for numerous global organizationsand an author of several books, she has spoken in more than 30 countries in the past few years. She travels frequently to deliver keynotes and consult for corporations throughout Asia, North America, Europe, South Africa, and Australia. Linda consults on corporate health andwellbeing as well as women’s health, leadership and performance.
She is also advisory board member for several international healthcare companies including the Shanghai-based JUCCE (Joint US–China Collaboration on Clean Energy) and the China —A New Way to Eatinitiative: a project of the World Economic Forum.
Dr. Friedlandresides mostly in Australia and is married to Peter, a surgeon. She is a mother of five.