‘Tis The Season For Holiday Baking Benefits

There’s no denying that this weekend will include its fair share of holiday sweets and treats.  And I’m not here to tell you to hold back, I mean it is Christmas after all, and I like cookies just as much as the next person.  But, and there’s always a but, there are a handful of ways to increase the health benefits of your favorite cookies, pies, and cakes.  Take a look the list below and you may see that many are already tucked away in your age-old family recipes.

Loading up on these seasonal flavors will not only pack a healthy punch, they can also help to satisfy additional sweet cravings and add flavor without extra salt, butter and refined sugar.  Here are 10 ways to add a healthy holiday boost to your favorite festive sweets:

  1. Cinnamon: This spice has been known to regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and boost brain function, all while acting as an anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal agent.
  2. Honey: This lower-glycemic, unrefined sweetener has been shown to act as a prebiotic, which helps with digestive health. Honey contains many nutrients including niacin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, and magnesium
  3. Maple Sugar: Maple sugar is dehydrated maple syrup, which contains amino acids, potassium, calcium, niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid.
  4. Coconut Oil: This medium chain fatty acid helps lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease, all the while helping to increase metabolism, energy, and fat burning.
  5. Mint: Mint has long been used to soothe an upset stomach, alleviate headaches and relieve digestive distress.
  6. Cloves: This intense aromatic flavor contains an active component called eugenol, which has mild anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties.
  7. Nutmeg: This wintertime favorite has been known to regulate the gastrointestinal tract and promote sleep. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
  8. Ginger: This spicy root has long been used as a herbal medicine to relieve gastrointestinal distress and nausea, and in modern times has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It is also used as a natural remedy for cold and flu symptoms and is thought to have immune boosting action.
  9. Date sugar: The minimal processing of grinding dehydrated dates means that all the nutrients and fiber remain intact in this natural sweetener, including folic acid and potassium.
  10. Cardamom: Among the many health benefits claimed for this spice are that it detoxifies the body and cleanses the kidneys.  I can’t think of a better way to head into the New Year.

Merry Christmas,

DK

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