Nutritional Gems for Christmas 2012

When thinking what I could include in this edition of Chatterbox, I thought of a Christmas theme. A time associated with plenty of excess, maybe, but also when many food items appear, due to “tradition”, and then disappear along with the Christmas decorations.

Foods such as Brussels Sprouts, Turkey, Cranberries, dates, nuts with their shells, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. I’m you have your own list of essentials, but before you think I’m going to justify eating all of those all year round, I’m not (well not all of them). I thought I would highlight some of these foods which are particularly wonderful and tell you the reasons why, so you can feel free to indulge on a more regular basis knowing they are nurturing your body.

Fresh cranberries are at their peak between October and December, the firmer the better, their ability to bounce is used to eliminate the inferior ones. Cranberries, like the blackberry in my previous article, are full of anti-oxidants giving many health benefits. Anthocyanin is the phytonutrient that gives cranberries that amazing red colour. Cranberries ability to protect against Urinary tract infections (UTIs) has now be shown to be due to a Proanthocyanin component which acts as a barrier against the bacteria and evidence is strongest for those with re-occurring infections. Juices and tablets have both been shown to be effective.
Try to stick to cranberry juice, sweetened with other juices, not sugar, and try homemade cranberry sauce, reduce the sugar content by adding thin slices of orange (rind included) while the berries are cooking to make more palatable.

Now Brussels Sprouts; the first thing you’ll be glad to know is I advice you not to over cook them! This drastically reduces their beneficial nutrient content, 5 minute steaming is sufficient. They are excellent at supporting detoxification making a good choice for a time of excess. Sulphur is one of the compounds that supports detoxification, but also has the less desirable affect of causing flatulence. They also have good levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well. Definitely along with other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower should be enjoyed regularly.

Finally I hope you enjoy my seasonal Healthy Truffles recipe and I wish you a wonderful Christmas and a healthy New Year.