Hidden health benefits of Christmas food

Last Updated: Dec 19, 2011, 19:39 PM IST

London: Christmas food is always believed to be high in fat and calories, but a closer look has revealed some of its hidden health benefits too.

For example, a turkey, which is the classic Christmas roast, contains high levels of protein but without the quantities of saturated fat in red meat, and it also has lower cholesterol levels than chicken, pork or beef.

It is good for children as it contains selenium and zinc to help growth and development plus vitamins B3 and B6, the Daily Express reported.

Vegetables like red cabbage, which researchers have found may help reduce the risk of some cancers, contain high levels of antioxidants, with the vitamin C content in it leading to healthier skin, cartilage and bones.

And Christmas is not complete without chestnuts, which unlike other nuts contain little fat and instead have large amounts of carbohydrates and vitamin C, along with Vitamin B6 and folate, which combine to lower the risk of heart disease.

Chestnuts contain high levels of antioxidants, thought to counter the development of some diseases.

Next on the menu is dark chocolate, which is a good source of magnesium and contains a variety of bioactive compounds believed to lead to good cardiovascular health and prevent joint problems.

The compounds in cocoa seem to help reduce high blood pressure and cocoa flavanols appear to make the blood less sticky and prevent blood clots. Dark chocolate is also thought to help lower cholesterol.

However chocolate is a high-calorie food and should be eaten in moderation.

Last but not the least is red wine, which contains the compound resveratrol, which has cardio-protective properties.

ANI