Christmas Dinner Items That Bring the Gift of Health


By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter

(Health Day)

MONDAY, Dec. 25, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Christmas dinner isn't usually known for healthy offerings, and instead thoughts of loosening your belt after a third helping of Uncle Fred come to mind.

But as researchers at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom report, there are also traditional offerings that can be healthier, if prepared properly.

For example, Brussels sprouts contain glucosinolates, which may help the body fight chronic conditions like diabetes and cancer.

However, the maximum benefits from Brussels sprouts are obtained when the vegetables are steamed rather than boiling or roasting. Kirsten BrandtA senior lecturer in food and human nutrition at Newcastle University.

"If you boil Brussels sprouts, you lose many important compounds in the water," Brandt said in a university news release. "If you fry them, they fall apart during cooking."

Brandt adds, "Steaming is what delivers most of these delicious and healthy compounds into the final product."

Carrot consumption may also help reduce a person's risk of cancer.

Researchers said that serving also reduces the risk of cancer by 4%.

Carrots contain a wide range of different compounds associated with health benefits, most prominently beta-carotene – the plant chemical that gives carrots their orange color.

However, the new review – which included data from nearly 200 studies involving 4.7 million participants – concluded that carrots as a whole, not just carotenes, provide anti-cancer effects.

"Unfortunately, beta-carotene did not show much beneficial effect on cancer in controlled experiments," said the lead researcher. charles ozbor, doctoral student in the Human Nutrition and Exercise Research Center at Newcastle University. "As a result, we studied carrots because of their content of a variety of phytochemicals, polyacetylene, which is colorless but has strong effects on cancer."

Potatoes also appear on many Christmas dinner tables - and Newcastle researchers say there is a variety that is best for roasting.

Researchers evaluated more than 250 different varieties of potatoes and concluded that red "rooster" potatoes reigned supreme.

Red potatoes are rich in fiber and ideal for cooking in the air fryer Sophia LongDoctoral student in the Department of Science, Agriculture and Engineering, University of Newcastle.

“Rooster potatoes are perfect for making the best roasted potatoes,” Long said. “They have a nice red skin and when peeled they reveal a beautiful golden color underneath – perfect for your roasties on Christmas Day.”

Source: Newcastle University, news release, December 18, 2023

If hosts plan their meals carefully and prepare vegetables properly, Christmas dinner can be a healthy offering.

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