Christmas Gift of Health

The holidays are here, the holidays are here! How about giving YOU the greatest gift of all this holiday season, the gift of good health? Better health begins with what you put in your mouth, so why not try to eat one superfood each day for 12 days?

Day 1: Eat some kale today.

Kale is a super-nutritious green leafy vegetable known for its anti-cancer status. One easy and tasty way to get some kale into your day is to eat kale chips: coat kale with olive oil and roast at a high temperature with just a touch of salt.

Day 2: Eat some chia seeds today.

An ancient wonder food, Chia seeds were the high energy endurance food of the ancient Aztec warriors. Chia seeds are actually a member of the mint family. They are packed with ALA (the plant omega-3 superfat), fiber and protein, vitamins and minerals such as niacin, zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium. Try them in your morning bowl of oatmeal to add extra nutrition.

Day 3: Eat some edamame today.

Edamame or roasted soybeans are the ultimate health food. Soy is a perfect protein—providing you with all the amino acids your body needs, in the right proportion. As a bonus, you also get fiber and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Try adding some unsalted soybeans to your salad or eating them as an appetizer at a Japanese restaurant.

Day 4: Eat some quinoa today.

Quinoa is a strikingly nutrient-rich whole grain that just like soy, contains a perfect complement of amino acids. High in fiber, vitamins and minerals, quinoa makes for a delicious high protein side dish. (Quinoa contains over twice the calcium as whole wheat.) Try it in place of brown rice for a change of pace.

Day 5: Eat some walnuts today.

Walnuts are tops in the nut world for their superb antioxidant content. High in the plant omega-3 superfat, ALA, fiber, vitamins and minerals, walnuts are the perfect snack for promoting health over the holiday season.

Day 6: Eat some extra virgin olive oil today.

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is your best bet for a heart-healthy fat this holiday season. Tasty and nutritious, extra virgin olive oil is a true superfood, packed with monounsaturated fat, antioxidants, and a nice amount of the superb antioxidant vitamin, vitamin E. Try dressing your dark green veggies with it or maybe roasting your holiday Brussels sprouts (another anti-cancer superfood) with some EVOO.

Day 7: Eat some wild salmon today.

Wild salmon is a perfect low mercury fish source of the heart-healthy omega-3 marine fats, EPA and DHA. What’s more, wild salmon contains three times the amount of vitamin D (the hottest vitamin swirling around the nutrition world) than farmed salmon. Try some canned wild salmon in place of tuna.

Day 8: Eat some cranberries today.

A simple task, this holiday berry houses a spectacular array of antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and other disease-fighting nutrients. Known to fight off an array of disorders including urinary tract infections, this is one berry that should be on your plate this holiday season and not just decorating your tree. (Try my delicious and light cranberry sauce recipe below.)

Day 9: Eat some white meat turkey today.

A regular on most holiday dinner plates, this is one holiday protein source that you should gravitate to. Lean white meat skinless turkey is a high quality protein source that is super low in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol.

Day 10: Eat some sweet potatoes today.

Sweet potatoes are orange and the orange color means these sweet sweets are an excellent source of the antioxidant provitamin, beta-carotene as well as vitamin C, fiber and loads of the blood-pressure-lowering mineral, potassium. At a mere 100 calories for a medium potato, no need for adding excessive amounts of sugar or butter. Simply roasting the potatoes at high temperature brings out their naturally delicious sweet flavor.

Day 11: Eat some dark chocolate today.

This time of year is about celebration and eating delicious holiday fare. It also is a time when many of us overindulge in high calorie, high fat and sugar desserts. Why not substitute the ultra-caloric holiday desserts today with a small amount of antioxidant-packed dark chocolate? This way you celebrate the season, your health and your waistline with one simple swap!

Day 12: Drink a glass of red wine today.

Celebrate the season with a toast to good health—but make it red wine in lieu of other libations. Holiday drinks tend to be loaded calories, fat and sugar. Conversely, a single glass of red wine contains a mere 125 calories. Red wine also has a high content of the antioxidants resveratrol and flavonoids. Just be sure to drink safely and in moderation as excessive drinking can harm your health.

Follow the 12 Days of Superfood Nutrition and you’ll surely be giving yourself the gift of health this holiday season.


Dr. Janet

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