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How to Incorporate Anti-Aging Foods Into Your Holiday Meal

By KellyRose McAleer - December 2, 2014

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Most people think that the holidays are doomed to be full of delicious food that is too rich to be healthy. We moan over all of the weight we are sure to gain, and make unfulfilled promises to lose it for our New Year’s Resolution. But actually, not all holiday foods are bad for you – some of the traditional dishes actually help your body with anti-aging. So if you are headed to a company potluck or need a side to bring to the holiday table, consider these:

Pomegranates

Pomegranates are full of the Vitamin C, an antioxidant which helps maintain your blood and bones, which grow less dense with age. They also help keep your skin from wrinkling as a result of sun damage. The fruit’s juice in the seeds preserves the collagen that keeps your skin looking smooth, so you won’t have to go out and get any collagen injections from a plastic surgeon. You can incorporate pomegranates into your cooking by making blushing pomegranate chicken, or spinach pomegranate salad.

Sweet Potatoes

Instead of putting marshmallows on top of your sweet potatoes, or eating them in a pie when they’ve been buried beneath sugar and butter, just eat some baked sweet potatoes. On their own, they contain copper which can keep your skin firm and Vitamin A which encourages cell turnover. If you think they taste too plain on their own, add some cinnamon – it’s a healthier topping than sugar, and just as delicious.

Cranberries

Researchers from Yale University have cited inflammation as one major cause of aging, and if that’s true then cranberries are your new best friend. Besides having an overflow of antioxidants that would put broccoli to shame, this tart fruit helps fight inflammation. And cranberries are super accessible in the winter – you can eat them canned, in a cocktail, or in cinnamon apple cranberry sauce.

Green Tea

Winter is all about trying to grab on to some warmth – a fireplace, some hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, and even green tea. There’s no better way to keep yourself warm than holding a hot mug of tea in your hands, and green tea goes to work for you right away. It contains compounds that fight sun damage as well as polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can reverse the effects of getting older. Drinking one cup a day will show signs of improvement by a month’s time, but if you get bored of sipping the same glass of tea every day you can turn it into a mocktail or green tea smoothie to mix things up.

Beets

Ah, beets! The kind of odd plant that small children refuse to eat. Luckily, children aren’t the ones who need to eat beets for the benefits, but you might be interested in the surplus of iron, fiber, and vitamins A and C. Like cranberries, beets have compounds which reduce inflammation, but they also help increase your body’s blood flow, which promotes energy and brings oxygen to your vital organs. If you exercise regularly, try drinking beet juice – it can allegedly increase your endurance, which means burning more calories post-holidays.

Cold-water Fish

If you don’t feel that a meal is complete without some meat on your plate, substitute fish in for the steak and pork every so often. Cold-water fish like mackerel, sardines, and salmon can help keep the moisture in your skin with their omega-3 fatty acids. If you can get yourself up to two servings a week, it can help with skin inflammations like psoriasis or eczema. Eating fish twice a week might sound dull, but you can switch off between pappardelle with asparagus and salmon, salmon and spinach salad, and teriyaki salmon with zucchini.

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