Seven Christmas superfoods to enjoy - without the guilt!

Feasting backed turkey on holiday table ready to eat
Feasting backed turkey on holiday table ready to eat

Christmas is a time to "eat, drink and be merry", but that doesn't mean you have to indulge in unhealthy snacks. Opt for these superfoods and enjoy a festive feast without the guilt!

See also: Eight foods to help ward off colds and flu

See also: Foods that fight aches and pains

1. Turkey
Christmas wouldn't the same without turkey - and luckily it's one of the healthiest foods on your festive plate. Turkey contains less fat than chicken and is packed with lean protein, which helps to keep your skin, nails and hair in good condition. High-protein foods also keep you feeling fuller for longer, so tuck into the turkey and you're less likely to want that second mince pie after dinner!

2. Nuts
Nuts are high in fat, but it's the healthy monounsaturated kind which is good for your heart. In fact, research shows that eating unsalted nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 15 per cent.
Nibble on some almonds, which contain vitamin E for healthy and younger-looking skin, or crack open a few Brazils, which contain selenium, a mineral with anti-ageing properties.

Give walnuts a go too. A handful of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats, along with copper, manganese, and biotin. Studies show that eating walnuts may help to reduce the risk of cancer of the prostrate and breast, and keep your heart and brain healthy.

3. Brussels sprouts
You either love them or hate them, but pass on the Brussels sprouts and you're missing out! The vegetables are packed with natural cancer-fighting chemicals and could be even better than carrots at protecting your eyesight in later life. Brussels contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that have been proven to protect against age-related macular degeneration.

4. Cranberries
As many women will know, cranberries are also great for helping to beat cystitis. The red berries are packed with plant chemicals called anthocyanins, which prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract wall. Studies show that these same chemicals may also guard against the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers and gum disease. Enjoy a dollop of cranberries with your turkey dinner, or use cranberry juice as a mixer for spirits.

5. Satsumas
Forget the crisps and snack on satsumas instead. The citrus fruits are naturally low in calories and packed with vitamin C, which helps to strengthen the immune system and fight off colds and flu. Eating vitamin C also helps collagen to form, which helps keep skin smooth and younger looking.

6. Cheese
Still got room for a cheese board? Cheese may be high in fat but it's also a good source of calcium, which helps to prevent osteoporosis later in life. Not only that, studies show that calcium may help you lose weight by speeding up the rate at which your body burns fat. Research shows that obese people who ate three to four daily servings of dairy foods as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost more weight than those who didn't.

7. Mulled red wine
When you fancy a festive tipple, a glass of mulled red wine is a good choice. Red wine contains antioxidants which mop up the destructive free radicals that can cause cell damage and lead to cancer. Plus, all those spices contain powerful anti-inflammatory polyphenols which when consumed regularly may help lower your risk of diabetes. Be generous with the cinnamon. Studies show that cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, which in turn reduces the rise in blood sugar after eating, helping you to feel fuller for longer.