10 Best Medicinal Holiday Ingredients
Here’s some good news: the delicious holiday food and drinks we love to indulge in might actually be healthy. If you’ve been looking for just such an excuse to relax and enjoy yourself with a second trip around the holiday buffet table, we’ve prepared a list of 10 healthy ingredients to use in your holiday cooking this year.
Traditionally used in everything from pies to eggnog, nutmeg calms the mind and body (especially when combined with dairy as it is in eggnog) and supports healthy sleep patterns, relieves anxiety and treats joint pain, stomach upset and may even improve your concentration.
One of the hardest working ingredients, cinnamon provides several health benefits to your holiday meal. It’s antimicrobial properties means it can kill digestive bacteria, stimulate circulation, prevent urinary tract infections, and relieve joint pain and stiffness. It may even serve to lower blood sugar levels in those suffering from type two diabetes.
Even conventional medical professionals use cloves and clove-derived solutions to treat muscle discomfort, tooth pain, intestinal bacteria and parasites. Some people swear by its aroma therapeutic benefits in increasing creativity and concentration. Use it in holiday drinks and decorations to take advantage of its healing smell and beneficial digestive qualities.
This herb’s fresh, invigorating scent is known to be calming to the digestive tract and open up the lungs and nose so you can breathe easier. Use it to relieve chronic or temporary constipation and keep respiratory allergies under control this holiday season.
Cardamom, used in holiday pies such as pumpkin and mince meat, offers dual benefits as a digestive aid and an aphrodisiac. It’s also been known to support healthy lungs, so reach for this if you are suffering from a lingering winter cold.
Like peppermint, ginger is a well known cure for digestive problems caused by an upset stomach. If you find yourself eating too much at your holiday meal, chewing on a piece of raw ginger will reduce the nausea and calm your digestive tract almost immediately. As a bonus, that means ginger can also reduce gas and support a healthy heart among its many other congestion-relief benefits.
Sage, a favorite ingredient in stuffing, also serves as a powerful antibacterial remedy used to reduce infection, relieve discomfort from a winter cold, and strengthen your liver, which will help you recover faster from a rich holiday dinner.
Oranges are a traditional source of healthy vitamin C, but did you know that the peels can also supply heart healthy carcinogens that prevent disease and support healthy digestion? Use the entire orange by flavoring cider and mulled wine with the peels and eating the fruit.
Cranberries are a potent antibacterial ingredient and one of the most well known natural method of preventing urinary tract infections caused by an overabundance of intestinal bacteria. This ingredient is such a powerful source of antibacterial support along with antioxidant-rich vitamin C that you should take at least two helpings of cranberry sauce this season.
10. Olive Oil
Olive oil, traditionally used in the lighting of the Hanukkah lamps is a popular addition to any meal. Cook with it, add it to recipes raw or use it in your holiday celebrations; olive oil is credited with heart healthy benefits including lowering the risk of high cholesterol, stroke and heart attacks.