Sugar cookies, gingerbread, festive cocktails—these holiday edibles are bound to end up in our diets this time of year, but how can we protect our bodies without forgoing the holiday cheer?
Though many of us are planning a healthier start come the new year, we seem to indulge in all of our sweet and savory cravings more and more as the current year winds down. From office parties to weekend get-togethers with close friends and visiting family members, the holidays just may be culprit number one for bad eating behavior. Whether it be bloating, a few extra pounds or skin breakouts, here’s how blueberries can help you keep the consequences of holiday indulgence at bay.
Blueberries are naturally fat free, low in calories, and a low GI (glycemic index) food. Adding them to your diet definitely won’t tip the scale; in fact, their sweet flavor can help curb cravings for foods that are high in sugar or fat, such as ice cream or cake. Besides being an alternative to high fat, do blueberries actually fight unhealthy fats? According to a 2017 study, regular consumption of foods with flavonoids such as anthocyanins (the antioxidant responsible for our berries blue hue) results in decreased levels of body fat.
Tip: Serve yourself smaller portions of dessert and add a handful of blueberries to eat along with the sweet treat to satiate your sweet tooth.
Commonly caused by something in the diet, bloating can fortunately be avoided by watching out for triggers. Carbonated drinks, sugar, alcohol and dairy products are known agitators that cause the belly to swell/ Unfortunately, these foods are found at nearly every holiday party. With just the right amount of fiber and plenty of water content, blueberries can help clear the gut without irritating the stomach.
Tip: Avoid alcohol and other sugar-laden drinks by fixing up a batch of fruit-infused water. To a liter of water add a cup each of blueberries, grapes (halved) and fresh mint leaves. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy a refreshing drink that only intensifies with flavor as the hours pass
Maybe it’s the stress from finding the perfect gift or the harsh winter weather, but skin breakouts around this time of year are likely worsened by the increased intake of sugary treats, carbohydrate-rich foods (i.e. bread, cookies) and even chocolate. Due to their high content of antioxidants and Vitamin C, regular consumption of blueberries may decrease mild cases of acne as well as neutralize free radicals to bring a more youthful radiance to dull skin.
Tip: Bring a fruit salad with a hefty amount of blueberries to your next holiday gathering. For an extra boost to your skin, make a face mask of equal parts mashed blueberries, natural yogurt and honey. Gently spread over face and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes then rinse.