When it comes to superfoods, there are a lot of options out there for you to choose from. However, when the holiday season rolls around each year, certain superfoods become more abundant and readily available than others. In this blog post, we will discuss six superfoods that should be on your shopping list if you want to get in the spirit of holidays!

The term “superfood” isn’t strictly defined, but you may consider these foods to be nutrient-dense products that have been linked to many types of variety of health benefits. Fortunately, many of our favorite festive meals are ideal platforms to boost superfoods and nutrients in each serving. They also have a robust backstory that goes beyond just the stomach-filling advantages – they’ll brighten up your holiday table as well!

1. Dark leafy greens

Watercress, lettuce, spinach, and kale are all examples of dark leafy greens that are high in folate and phytochemicals, both of which have been linked to a decreased risk of cognitive decline. One of the best effective ways to improve brain function and delay dementia is to consume a lollipop. Kale and spinach are the most popular holiday veggies but don’t forget about peppery arugula, delicate Swiss chard, turnip greens, radish greens, and beet greens. Vitamin K, vitamin A, iron, folate, vitamin C, and potassium are all present in significant quantities in dark leafy greens. Spinach, endive, and escarole are all high in fiber and low in calories, making them excellent substitutes for frozen vegetables.

Here’s how to work them in:

  • Spinach, kale, or Swiss chard may be added to your favorite winter dishes. Toss a handful or two of chopped spinach, kale, or Swiss chard into each serving. Toss in the beans and peppers just before serving. Allow cooking for a few minutes more to slight wilt.
  • Stir in some chopped scallion greens to your favorite breakfast dish. Here’s one with turkey sausage and spinach, while this low-carb version includes butternut squash. The broccoli breakfast strata recipe has less than 300 calories per serving and is packed with nutrients.
  • Pack them in your favorite hot appetizer dips, such as this spinach artichoke dip.

2. Pomegranates

The pomegranate is a fruit with hundreds of tiny red seeds known as arils that are filled with delicious wonder. It’s a great source of fiber, with 7 grams in each 1-cup serving. Points to consider: Pomegranates may help lower cholesterol by preventing plaque buildup in the arteries. The bright seeds are packed with anti-cancer polyphenols that have a greater antioxidant potential than red wine and green tea. They’ll give salads, yogurt, and even that Christmas turkey at the center of the table a delightful pop of flavor.

Seeds have a greater fiber-boosting effect, but pomegranate juice offers several advantages as well. It’s ideal for use in place of orange juice in your holiday morning mimosa! Be aware of extra sugar and, if feasible, select 100 percent juice varieties. Juice in dark bottles because pomegranate’s vitamin C does not degrade as quickly.

Here’s how to work them in:

  • Pomegranate juice is a fantastic tart-sweet accent to festive sauces. Try this pinot-pomegranate sauce with pork, beef tenderloin, and even turkey.
  • Sprinkle pomegranate arils on top of hummus or guacamole for a bright and cheerful holiday appetizer.
  • Roll your cheese ball or goat cheese log in arils for a beautiful touch to the cheese platter.
  • Sprinkle the arils over dark green leafy salads for a burst of bright, tart-sweet flavor.

3. Beets

Beets, like the red pomegranate seeds, are a brilliant crimson color! They also have a high nutrient content. This soup has a lot of antioxidants and fiber, which makes it healthy. It also only has 60 calories per cup. Kale also contains more iron than spinach and is a rich source of potassium (1 cup equals a banana) and folate. Beetroot’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and heart-healthy qualities are all fascinating. Betalain, a pigment found in beets that gives them their bright red color, is responsible for these properties.

Here’s how to work them in:

  • To add a sweet, buttery flavor to your holiday salad (made even more delicious with a handful of crunchy walnuts!).
  • Serve over a lively green salad or as part of a ham, turkey, or beef tenderloin spread.
  • This beet hummus will make them the star of the appetizer table.
  • Shred and bake the beets into your favorite holiday muffin recipe — the naturally delicious beet is a wonderful addition to baked items!

A piece of advice: Don’t recycle those beet greens! Beet greens have one of the widest nutrient compositions of the dark leafy green family (see above), including folate, vitamin K, calcium, and iron. The greens have a hint of bitterness to them, so chop them and sauté in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper for a sourdough snack or add to whole grains or roasted root vegetables.

4. Blueberries

Blueberries are tiny packages of energy that you may take for granted. Fresh blueberries contain 6 grams of fiber, half of your daily vitamin C, and are among the best antioxidants sources. Flavonoids, anthocyanins (the purple hue), and polyphenols (which give the tea its red color) assist in preventing heart disease and diabetes. A blueberry-filled breakfast is one of the greatest methods to start your day before a big holiday dinner.

Here’s how to work them in:

  • Blend them into a delicious smoothie.
  • Muffins are wonderful baked items.
  • Make a compote and serve over French toast or steel-cut oats.

5. Olive oil

Olive oil is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, skin-replenishing vitamin E, and antioxidant-rich polyphenols. It’s the gold standard of the heart-healthy fat family, and it’s also a key player in any healthy holiday kitchen. It’s packed with antioxidants, which can protect our brain and blood vessels from oxidative damage. Olive oil is wonderfully flavored and under-utilized in cooking and “finishing” things like greens, roasted veggies, and mashed potatoes.

Here’s how to work it in:

  • Instead of butter, massage your turkey with olive oil. You’ll save a lot of saturated fat while still obtaining crispy skin. Water in butter cools down the skin, which prevents it from becoming as crisp as an oil-rubbed chicken because it keeps that skin hydrated.
  • Use olive oil in place of butter when making pastry and pie doughs. The oil penetrates into the flour more easily than solid fat because it is liquid fat. Your pie crust turns out great, flaky, and delectable. Replace butter with oil in the same quantity as it calls for; oil is entirely fat, while butter contains fat, water, and milk proteins.
  • Garlic-infused olive oil may be used in place of butter in your holiday mashed potatoes and roasted veggies, and sweet potatoes or butternut squash can be used instead of white potatoes to make the mash even more “super.”

6. Citrus

When we celebrate the holidays, we see and smell many oranges and other citrus fruits. But you can add them to your food too. Citrus fruits (particularly oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, and limes) provide several health benefits that go far beyond the vitamin C boost. Hesperidin, a flavonoid found in citrus fruit, has been shown in studies to improve circulation and lower blood pressure. Yes, you can consume your daily amount of citrus juice, but it’s preferable to chew on it — juice is fine in small amounts, but it also contains a high concentration of sugar.

Here’s how to work it in:

  • In your leafy green salads, go heavy on the citrus.
  • Serve a big dose of citruses in the morning, such as these fun and festive crepes, or try them out on Christmas morning with yogurt.
  • Add easy-to-peel mandarin oranges to a cheese or charcuterie platter.
  • Make a colorful, sunny, citrus-flavored salsa to serve with fish, turkey or beef.

7. Pumpkin

We’re not talking about lattes, which can contain over 50 grams of sugar (that’s 1/4 cup!) in a single 16-ounce serving. We’re talking about actual pumpkin, which has major advantages. That brilliant orange hue? It’s all thanks to the beta-carotene-loaded antioxidants in the fruit. Beta-carotene aids in the prevention of age-related diseases, improves our eyesight, and helps strengthen our immune system. A cup of puree has more than 200 percent of your daily vitamin A intake, 1/3 of your vitamin K requirement, 7 grams of fiber, and other elements like zinc and magnesium that are crucial for mood, energy, and hormone balance.

Here’s how to work it in:

  • This delicious pumpkin soup is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.
  • When it comes to that can of pumpkin puree, think outside the box. You may use canned pumpkins in your morning smoothies. Stir this into your food. It is good in chili and oatmeal, and it is also good with macaroni and cheese!
  • Make pumpkin a part of your hostess gifts by including it in the recipe. Instead of peppermint bark, sweets, and cookies, give these Pumpkin Pie Power Bites as hostess gifts. They’re also ideal for long car journeys and fit well in carry-on luggage.

Cinnamon, another super-spice that has been found to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, goes well with pumpkin-packed foods.

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