The holidays are certainly not the easiest times to embrace healthy foods given all the yummy temptations on the Christmas table. We thought we would put together this handy little nutrition guide, so you will see that superfoods are everywhere and when you take another helping of that delicious cake, in fact, you just give some extra love to your body. It is all about the right perspective! After reading our article, you might feel a little less guilty when you spread out on the sofa nursing a food coma. After all, those three bowls of fish soup and the entire poppy seed bejgli were not in vain.
Note: This advice is not conducive to a healthy everyday diet. But then again, neither is Christmas.
Chestnut – Stronger immunity and smoother skin
Almost no one can resist the smell of roasted chestnuts (let alone the Hungarian chestnut puree with a mountain load of whipped cream on top) and the good news is: you are advised to dig in. Chestnuts are more than just tasty harbingers of the Christmas season – these sweet and buttery superfoods are packed with key vitamins and fiber. They are also a breed apart from other nuts in that they are the only kinds that contain vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for safeguarding our immune system as well as building collagen (goodbye wrinkles!).
Chestnuts are also low in fat compared to other nuts. Hence, you can eat as much as your stomach can take in without the worry that you may not fit into your pants in January.
Poppy seed – Healthier bones and teeth
Dairy products move over, poppy seed is here to take the throne. As it turns out, milk and cheese are not the only calcium-rich foods (in fact new studies have shown that they are counterproductive when it comes to calcium absorption). One tablespoon of poppy seed contains 13 percent of your recommended daily calcium intake. Now, you do the math on how many slices of bejgli you have to polish off to cover your entire calcium needs! As a bit of extra dose of this vital nutrient has never hurt anyone, you do not have to go easy on that invitingly delicious Christmas roll.
No need to worry about the opium content of these superfoods either, you are not going to get red-flagged in a drug test. Although, now that we think of it – the more bejgli we stuff into our mouth, the happier we feel! Maybe there are some clues in it, after all.
There is no better way to kick off the Christmas celebration than by treating yourself to a steamy comforting bowl (or two..but even if you are deep into your third one, we will not tell anyone) of Hungarian fish soup. Many believe that fish is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, it hits so many nutritional sweet spots. One of the best sources of dietary protein, it is also rich in a bunch of anti-inflammatory vitamins and essential minerals such as iron, zinc, iodine and magnesium.
For those who want to shed a couple of pounds, fish is definitely a better option than red meat as it has a significantly lower fat content. But who cares about calories during the holiday season, anyway? We just want to enjoy all the festive deliciousness and care about those love handles and belly rolls later.
Cabbage – Powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant
Cabbage may not be the trendiest veggie that comes to your mind, but add some ground beef or pork plus generous amounts of garlic and onion to it, and it will transform into a mouth-wateringly delicious Christmas dish. Cabbage should be actually crowned as a ‘king” among the cruciferous vegetables for its impressive anti-cancer properties. It contains more phytochemicals than any other vegetable on the planet. These compounds act as powerful antioxidants or nutrient protectors and effectively fight the formation of carcinogens.
This miraculous superfood also improves the body’s ability to detoxify and eliminate harmful chemicals and hormones. There you go, you have all the right reasons now to take an extra serving of that nice and savoury stuffed cabbage you have been eyeing up all this time!
There are times when the walnut cake just keeps calling out to you, and must take another slice and another one and another one… oh wait, is it already the end of the bejgli? And then you just stand there confused, wondering how this thing happened again. We have all been there. Luckily, those yummy slices did not go down as just empty calories. Walnuts are considered the most powerful braid foods due to their high level of omega-3 fatty acids. These tiny brain-shaped superfoods incredibly support your brain function by improving your learning and cognitive skills as well as sharpening your memory.
Now, you do not have to be ashamed anymore when you polish off an entire walnut bejgli in one sitting. Instead, enjoy all the gains when you beat everyone at the next family board game session!
Red Wine – Improved heart function and better aging
We already knew that wine is awesome, but now we can also declare it as one of the most powerful superfoods! Studies have long proved that cardiovascular diseases are way less common among French people, compared to Americans for instance, even though they love their stinky cheeses and foie gras. This finding is often referred to as the “French paradox”. The key to this medical mystery could be their higher consumption of red wine. Whether you eat them or drink them, grapes, especially the ones with dark coloured skins, are loaded with flavonoids, a group of plant pigments. These potent nutrients can actually ward you off against heart failure.
The delicious red nectar can also lower your risk of dementia so you will not forget to open the second bottle of Egri Bikavér or help yourself to another mug of mulled wine to celebrate the magical Christmas season.
So mention of the fact that the pastries and other desserts are laden with sugar and either lard or butter? Very healthy….not. Plus most times the other dishes are usually made here with so much salt as to be inedible to those of us with refined palettes – again not healthy. There is absolutely no way that Hungarian cuisine can be called healthy. Quite the opposite hence the very high prevalence of heart disease in this country compared to say, Italy or France.
Dear Kati, the article has an obviously light tone, it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously or like a full-on nutrition advice. 🙂 Lighten up and enjoy the rest of the holidays!