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Fitness & Health

22nd Dec 2015

5 Christmas superfoods that are actually really good for you

Get these in your Christmas dinner...

Ben Kenyon

Christmas is almost upon us and so is the endless slog of booze, chocolates, fatty food and more booze.

The average person will put on around 4lbs between December 25 and New Year.

We’re obviously above average here at JOE because we’d do that in a day.

But if you’re already worrying about the hammering your waistline over the festive season, fear not – we’ve cobbled together a list of superfoods that you need to be piling on your plate a Christmas.

They’re actually pretty Christmassy too so you won’t have to sit there miserably ploughing through a salad wearing a Santa hat.

Brussels sprouts


Yes they’re the number one cause of aggressive Christmas farts, but Brussels sprouts are also really good for you.

They’re cruciferous vegetables packed with vitamin K, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium and magnesium. As a valuable source of glucosinolates they protect our DNA from damage. They can also help to avoid the mid-afternoon slump on Christmas Day, as they are packed with B Vitamins, essential for energy.

‘Try steaming them to keep in their goodness and add nutmeg for Christmas twist’ says Shona Wilkinson, head nutritionist at Nutrition Centre.

You can even sling in some chorizo with them if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.



There’s nothing that smells more Christmassy than a great dollop of cinnamon on stuff, but it’s also one of nature’s most revitalising herbs.

It is filled with potent anti-oxidants – more than almost all other spices and herbs – it may help to reduce signs of ageing and boosting metabolism to help burn off those three selection boxes you ate the night before.

It can also aid digestion, gently warming your stomach, supporting the breakdown of your food more efficiently, explains leading nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville.

If you have a massive sweet tooth (and we do) then Shona Wilkinson says ‘Cinnamon is also great for reducing sugar cravings. Add some to a cranberry, pear and clementine juice for a festive pick me up on the go! You can also combine it with spinach or kale for a super shot of festive green goodness!’


An Almond lying next to a pile of roasted mixed nuts.

It’s Christmas! So go f**kin nuts. They’re packed with essential nutrients, they’re high in vitamins, minerals and good fats.

They are also rich in protein which means they are broken down more slowly and therefore stay in the stomach longer, making us feel fuller and snack less.

They also help to balance your blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which is an essential part of healthy weight loss and management.

Cashews, almonds, macadamias and Brazils are the perfect nuts to snack on over Christmas…and before you ask, no the list doesn’t include king-sized Snickers.

Nuts are high in calories, so don’t go too, er, well, nuts. Small handfuls should do the trick. Dr Glenville says ensure they’re raw and unsalted to get the maximum benefit from the delicate oils they contain.’


Roasted turkey on holiday table, candles and Christmas tree with ornaments

It’s the only game in town this Christmas. It’s a great source of lean protein while being low in fat and low in calories – just what you need to keep Christmas clean.

Wilkinson explains that the meat is also high in Selenium, which supports metabolism, Zinc that help to boost our immunity and vitamin B6 essential for energy production.

If you find yourself wanting to snack and reaching for that box of chocolates, then these carb cravings are a sign of low levels of the amino acid – tryptophan, which is necessary for the serotonin production – a ‘happy’ brain chemical.

It plays a crucial role in sleep and wake cycles as well as digestion and a lack of it can lead to low mood and anxiety.

Lucky for us turkey is packed with tryptophan, so fill yer boots.

Mulled red wine

Delicious mulled wine with christmas decoration at romantic fireplace

We don’t need an excuse to get on the wine, but we’re going to give you one anyway.

Red wine is a good source of resveratrol. WTF is resveratrol, we hear you cry. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which can be found in the skin of red grapes, berries, cocoa and red wine.

It not only protects you from damaging free radicals but it also boosts cell replication. By promoting a healthy, inflammatory response in our body it delays premature ageing process and turn excess flab into calorie-burning ‘brown fat’.

And scientists have proven it’s 100% effective at making you feel Christmassy as f**k. Lob a stick of cinnamon in it and make it double healthy. Merry Christmas.