Christmas Treats That Do You More Good Than Harm

03/12/2010 16:00 | Updated 22 May 2015

When you think of Christmas foods and drinks, your immediate reaction may be to shudder at the thought of all the weight you'll gain from overindulging. But many Christmas treats are better for you than you think. Find out which festive foods are good for your health, and why.

Many Christmas foods are surprisingly good for youMany Christmas foods are surprisingly good for you. Photo: Stock.xchng, theswedish

Smoked salmon

Treat yourself to smoked salmon on Christmas morning and you'll be doing your heart a favour, as it contains health-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. Add some scrambled egg and your breakfast will pack a real protein punch - which means you won't be so tempted to snack on crisps and chocolates.

Veggies galore

If you load your plate with Brussels sprouts, parsnips, red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peas and other veggie at Christmas lunch, you'll be getting more than your five portions in a single sitting. Sprouts are particularly good for you as they're packed full of folic acid, vitamin C and other antioxidants.


A traditional Christmas roast turkey is a great source of lean protein. And if you're suffering from the winter blues it also helps boost your levels of serotonin - the feel-good hormone - thanks to a nutrient it contains called tryptophan.

Red wine

A good bottle of red doesn't just put you in the Christmas spirit. Experts believe substances in red wine make it healthier than other drinks. For instance, several studies suggest red wine may help protect against cardiovascular disease, thanks to a substance it contains called resveratrol. However, drinking lots of it doesn't mean you'll be healthier, so go easy.


Yes we know nuts are high in fat, but it's healthy fat. Brazil nuts and walnuts are packed full of potassium, iron, zinc, vitamin E, calcium and magnesium, while Brazils are also a great source of selenium. One trick to stop yourself from binging is to buy all your nuts in shells - having to crack them open will slow you down.


Christmas just wouldn't be the same without lots of juice satsumas (or, alternatively, clementines, mandarins or tangerines). All are great for snacking on as they're low in calories and high in vitamin C, folic acid and beta carotene.


Another great festive fruit, pomegranates are in season at this time of year and are a great source of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and niacin, plus fibre and lots of antioxidants. Medical studies suggest pomegranates may help prevent heart attacks and strokes, thanks to the high level of antioxidants they contain.

Dried fruit

Dates and figs are also traditional Christmas far, and while like any other type of dried fruit they're high in sugar, they're also packed with nutrients. For instance, figs contain lots of potassium as well as some calcium, magnesium and iron. Dates also contain potassium and iron.


Christmas spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg taste and smell amazing - but they're good for you too. They help raise your body temperature by boosting blood flow, which comes in handy if it's freezing outside. Ginger and cinnamon are also good for your digestion, which helps if you've overstuffed yourself.

Buck's Fizz

A glass of Buck's Fizz is better than a glass of plain bubbly, as the orange juice provides vitamin C. And that's good to have on board if there are any Christmas cold and flu bugs going around.


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