Festive times – ways to stay healthy at Christmas

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I love this time of year. I love the colours of nature. The evergreens look so green at this time especially against the grey backdrop of leafless, gnarly trees. The air seems fresher than ever; cooler, crisper, cleaner.

The best thing of all is that the family and friends get together and  play silly games. Work is forgotten for a couple of days and we get down to the serious business of entertainment and fun. Even the dog joins in and dresses up for the occasion. After all, if we have to wear silly jumpers then so should she!

I love the smells of winter fir, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. The kitchen is chock full of festive treats which all smell so intoxicating and it can be all too easy to get a sugar overload without even realising.

I believe in being organised but it’s particularly important at this time of year. It’s wonderfully exciting to offer guests some handmade goodies. I always have a stash of mince pies made with my homemade mince meat or some cinnamon cookies. Herbal teas are always welcome and I love to make my own using supplies from the store cupboard. Ginger and lemon is a great combination and a cinnamon stick or star anise steeped in a warm, milky drink is delicious no matter what the occasion. Cinnamon is a great spice to add to your food and a little sprinkle goes a long way. Its antioxidant abilities are what makes it especially beneficial to include in your diet. As little as ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day can have positive effects on blood sugar levels, digestion, immunity, and more. Stronger doses can even cut the risk of diabetes. It helps lower blood sugar levels and can improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is the vital hormone needed for keeping blood sugar levels balanced. Cinnamon is also anti- inflammatory and an anti-oxidant.

Fortunately, cinnamon is easy to add to your diet as it goes well in both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s lovely in curries (perfect for using up that left over turkey) and also in apple pies, cookies, Christmas puddings, mince pies and festive drinks (mulled wine or hot chocolate anyone?) It tastes naturally sweet so you won’t need to add so much sugar to your recipes.

Cinnamon sticks are actually pieces of the inner bark of the cinnamomum tree. The bark is cut and it curls up as it dries and develops that familiar flavour. There are two types of cinnamon available and the Ceylon cinnamon is superior in taste and health benefits. It is grown in Sri Lanka and Thailand. The other type is called Cassia Bark or Cassia Cinnamon and is grown in China.

Make sure you get your daily dose of cinnamon. At lifetrainme we like to add it to all sorts of food and drinks. Try it on porridge, hot chocolate, coffee, curry, dhal, pilau rice, beef and lamb dishes, ice cream, rice pudding, cakes, biscuits and cookies. There’s something for everyone as far as cinnamon is concerned.

Written by: MImi

This article is not intended as medical advice. Cinnamon may not be suitable for everyone. Please conduct your own research to make sure this is right for you.

 

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