Christmas typically involves a marathon of sitting around the festive table with your loved ones, and digging into a feast of 12 traditional dishes. Speaking of which, please be assured that you have no reason to be afraid of them or avoid them. Christmas is the time when you can forget about dietary catering without a guilty conscience. After all, it happens once a year and, what’s more, festive dishes are far healthier than you might think! We’ve taken a close look at five of them, and we have definite proof.
Borscht with mushroom dumplings
An absolute staple of every Christmas feast. Borscht with mushroom dumplings is flavorsome and filling but, at the same time, very light on the stomach. It is also very healthy because of its main ingredient: red beets. They are rich in B group vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid, and manganese. For this reason, borscht is a real treasure trove of iron and should definitely make its way into the diet of all those who struggle with anemia. Betaine – the compound which gives beets their intense color – has been shown to protect the body’s cells from the harmful impact of oxidative stress and its effects including dementia and cancer. But the benefits of red beets don’t end here! These red-purple vegetables are powerful antioxidants reducing the risk of diabetes, supporting the bowel function, and building up the body’s immunity.
Stewed sauerkraut with mushrooms
Sauerkraut is the real queen among natural sources of probiotics. It contributes to healthy gut flora, which plays a major part in immune responses and, as research shows, it is an important factor regulating stress levels and maintaining brain health. Plant compounds found in sauerkraut prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells, while vitamin K2 safeguards against osteoporosis and strengthens the bones. Do you work out? If so, ask for an extra serving.
Mushrooms, which serve as an ideal complement to sauerkraut in this traditional dish, get rid of free radicals in your body. In addition, they are rich in selenium, copper, niacin, riboflavin, and B vitamins. This vitamin bomb supports your heart function and also helps to keep your hair and skin healthy.
Do you want to have a good memory and improve your brain function to tackle the challenges of your job, long hours of study or daily chores? If so, don’t pass over carp. Similarly to other fish, carp is a source of unsaturated fatty acids – omega-3 and omega-6 – which boost your brain function and lower the risk of stroke and heart attack. Just make sure not to add too much fat when frying. The fats in carp fish are unrivaled in quality by any other available on store shelves.
A sweet dish that you simply can’t afford to miss. Forget about counting calories for a moment and instead focus on the nutritional value of kutya. The main ingredient, wheatberries, is rich in vitamins A, B, E and C, which have a great effect on your hair, skin, and nails. Nuts and raisins, in addition to being delicious, are exceptionally healthy and necessary in your daily diet. They lower the cholesterol level and top up your energy reserves, improve your nervous and circulatory systems, and regulate your metabolism. As if that weren’t enough, kutya also contains poppy seeds and honey! Poppy seeds help remove cholesterol from the body, and additionally induce calming and analgesic effects. Honey has so many amazing benefits that it would take hours to discuss them all. For example, it has a bactericidal effect, strengthens the body’s immune defenses, stimulates digestion, and even calms the nerves and improves the mood.
Fish in aspic
We’ve already highlighted the health benefits of eating fish, so let’s turn our attention to the frequently underestimated ingredient of this dish – aspic jelly – because it should definitely find its way into the diet of all sports enthusiasts. Aspic is the best source of collagen available. Collagen is known to improve the condition of bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Based on these properties, it accelerates the regeneration of injuries and treatment of inflammatory conditions, and prevents osteoporosis.
Eat yourself healthy! Remember that everything in life – food included – is good in moderation. Don’t eat for two, but also don’t worry about gaining weight or skipping a workout that day. After all, Christmas is only once a year!