Turkey is a lean, mean protein-packed machine, and it’s also rich in tryptophan, which your brain needs to produce the “happy hormone” serotonin. Light meat is healthier than dark meat so aim to load up on as much breast and lean leg meat as you can.
Thanks to their high dose of vitamin A, carrots really are great for your eyes – and your skin, hair and nails. Plus, carrots get their characteristic bright orange colour from a health-boosting carotenoid called beta-carotene, which is vitally important for immune health.
BEST: Brussel Sprouts
If there’s one food you want to pile your festive plate with, it’s sprouts. These little green morsels are packed with vitamins K and C, and are also rich in sulphurous compounds that support the liver’s detoxification processes (very handy at Christmas!).
Fish in general is great brain food, packed with omega-3 fats and vitamin D, so chow down on a few slithers of salmon before the annual board game face-off and you might actually beat Dad this year.
Sweeter and starchier than their orange cousins, parsnips are a nice change from spuds, plus they’re packed with potassium and folate, both of which are very important for your heart. They’re are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a glass of champers at lunch or dinner, but it’s worth knowing that the levels of our liver enzymes that process alcohol are at their lowest at lunchtime.
WORST: Roast Potatoes
Dousing potatoes in fat and loading them up with salt isn’t going to win you any health points. But you can boost their value by doing half white potatoes and half sweet potato, adding a load of fibre and vitamin A in the process.
WORST: Mince Pies
All butter pastry, how we love thee… until we realise because of you, there’s almost 300 calories and TONS of sugar in each measly pie. You can cut back by making your own with filo, or sharing it with a family member.
WORST: Christmas Fruit Cake
Nuts, dried fruit, spices…you’d be forgiven for thinking this is basically a health food – until you factor in sugar, brandy, flour and suet (oops). However, for a booze-infused cake, this isn’t the worst. That accolade goes to…
WORST: Log Cake
Packed with sugar, a large slice of this is likely to send you into an tired slump! But Christmas only happens once a year, so we’ll definitely be serving ourselves a slice and enjoying every bite.
(Text by Holly Royce, bauersyndication.com.au / Additional reporting by Natalya Molok)