Health for the holidays, keep weight down and vitality up with fruits and veggies

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If you are looking for ways to maintain your health this holiday season, amongst all the pumpkin pie, fruit cakes and gingerbread that the holidays bring forth, then I suggest that you look no further than your local fruits and vegetables.

Try substituting fruits and vegetables for slices of goodies that will only bring you down and bring your weight up. If you do this, then you will be one step ahead in the wellness game. You will also be battling at full blast against the cold and flu. It is important to eat hearty foods to help keep your body warm, and also foods that are packed with vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin B, which all boost the immune system.

Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a great antioxidant and are loaded with vitamin power, from vitamin A to vitamin K. Pomegranates can be, somewhat, easily consumed when cut open and eaten seed by seed or as an addition to salads. The fruit can also be used for juicing or made into a jam. Pom Wonderful sells a varied array of pomegranate juices at most grocery stores. Its site gives many recipe and drink ideas most vegetarian—a couple not— but all can easily be made vegetarian by substituting meat with tofu. I love pomegranates as a festive edition to the holidays with their deep red color. They are also a good alternative to the traditional cranberry. Pomegranates, however, do not usually work very well as a decorative dried fruit to string around the Christmas tree as does the cranberry.

Squash

Squash do, in fact, work well as both gourds for use in decoration and as an excellent side dish. They are hearty and starchy, yet full of fiber. They will give you warmth on a cold winter's night. One popular way of cooking squash is to make it into a soup. My favorite, and, perhaps, one of the most popular squash soups is butternut. Butternut squash soup is rich, creamy and full of nutty flavor. Butternut squash is also very yummy cut into cubes and doused with a little brown sugar and cinnamon, which gives it a spicy yet sweet aroma, and creates a very welcome alternative to pumpkin or sweet potato pie. Squash also, of course, are well-endowed in the health department in many ways. Squash are a stealthy defensive weapon containing various nutrients including two different types of B vitamins, magnesium, and vitamin C.


Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds, from milled, to ground, to brown, to golden, are a welcome addition to winter time foods since they are packed with Omega 3 fatty acids. They give the body the lubrication that it needs to successfully battle the drying cold air. You can consume the seeds raw, in a crushed powdery form or in oil form. I enjoy adding the raw seeds or powder to yogurt and cereals. Flaxseeds are a popular additive in many grocery food products such as crackers, waffles and cereals. Flaxseeds have also been shown to reduce your risk of developing certain diseases. It is such a wonderfully nutritious little seed that it keeps various internal organs in the body, including the heart, in near perfect functioning order. Flaxseeds are also a very nutritious source of fiber, so if you become completely blocked up after a large holiday meal, turn to flaxseeds, and then maybe scarf down a salad or a bunch of leafy greens. I promise that you will not be disappointed. Their effect will be overwhelmingly powerful.

Naomi Chos
Naomi holds a BS degree in Print Journalism with a minor in sociology from Kent State University. She is a contributing holistic medicine/alternative health examiner for Examiner.com and enjoys writing articles on nutrition and health, holistic medicines and fitness. Contact Naomi via her personal e-mail address ncow5381@yahoo.com.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/shyb

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