Good things do come in small packages.
While the holiday season is filled with sugary temptations and a tendency to overindulge, here’s 5 foods from Brandon Hall at Stack.com that offer big health benefits in tiny portions.
- Chia seeds. Remember those little terracotta figurines that we would get for gag gifts and then see kids laugh when the dog statue grew a green fur coat or a man grew a beard? Well, it turns out the seeds in those kits are really good for us. One serving of chia seeds contains up to 40 percent of an individual’s daily fiber, 23 percent of magnesium and five grams of protein. It’s also high in omega-3, which studies have shown may help lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Sprinkle them in cereal, yogurt or salad for a nutritious boost.
- Natural peanut butter. It may not be exotic, but peanut butter packs eight grams of protein, 14 percent of daily vitamin E, 21 percent of daily niacin and 23 percent of daily manganese in every serving. Niacin helps the body convert food into fuel and improves circulation. Manganese assists with blood sugar regulation and brain function. Though high in fat, it’s mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
- Coconut oil. High in lauric acid, replacing butter or vegetable oil with coconut oil has snow to help reduce fat mass, improve cholesterol and add shine to hair and skin. Try it with your holiday baking.
- Ground turmeric. This member of the ginger family gives many curry dishes its flavor. One tablespoon includes just 24 calories but up to 6 percent of daily fiber, 16 percent of daily iron and 26 percent of daily manganese. It also has been shown to help in pain relief and reduce inflammation.
- Dark chocolate. Now, we’re getting somewhere. Dark chocolate is filled with epicatechins, an antioxidant that has shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also has shown evidence of increasing energy and is high in fiber and iron. Here’s the catch: Limit yourself to one teaspoon of the organic variety that is at least 70 percent cocoa. That’s about one square inch.