Genius Foods Author Max Lugavere On 12 Holiday Ingredients That Will Help Boost Your Health

(light upbeat music) I'm at Fairway Market to do some food shopping for the holidays and I've got some great news A lot of the ingredients on our holiday menu are already actually pretty good for us

It's all about finding the right way to use them Today, I'm gonna show you how Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutrient-dense ingredients in the supermarket They're an amazing source of beta-Carotene which in the body becomes converted to vitamin A which is critical for proper eye, brain, and immune function And if you're feeling really adventurous, add some herbal potatoes to the mix which are pigmented with the same antioxidant that gives blueberries their color and they're sweet too

(jazzy rock music) So, brussels sprouts are like little baby cabbage heads They're incredibly good for you They're packed with vitamin C, they're an amazing source of dietary fiber, and they provide glucosinolates which may provide an anti-cancer effect Shrimp cocktail is an incredible appetizer It is super low in calories but very high in protein

It's also full of antioxidants like astaxanthin which is a carotenoid found only in marine animals that actually gives shrimp its red color (funky jazz music) Turkey is an incredible source of the mineral selenium In fact, a four ounce portion of turkey provides 60% of your recommended daily intake for selenium It's also a great source of iodine (funky jazz music) So, cranberries are usually gonna be found on every Thanksgiving menu

Cranberries are a great source of vitamin C which acts like an antioxidant in the body and it's also required for the creation of your brain's important neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine (light upbeat music) One unsung hero of the Thanksgiving meal is salt It becomes really important to buy high quality salt, especially now in light of research that's shown that many of the sea salts that we're using around the globe are contaminated with microplastics So, when I'm choosing a salt, I like to choose a salt that is rich in an abundance of other minerals and that comes from a pristine source So, Himalayan pink salt is a really good example

Pumpkin is a nutrition powerhouse It's loaded with beta-Carotene which becomes vitamin A in the body, it's packed with vitamin C, and it's an amazing source of dietary fiber When you're choosing pumpkin, you wanna make sure to buy it either fresh or frozen If you're going for canned, check on the back of the label and make sure that it's 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling (light upbeat music) Alright, well I've got everything I need for a delicious and healthy Thanksgiving meal

I cannot wait to roll up my sleeves and get cooking (audience claps) Nicely done, sir, as always Thank you Now, we have a couple more examples of some of your favs here on the counter Why don't you walk us through your choices? Yeah, so I'm a huge fan of cinnamon and thankfully a lot of holiday dishes are already well-seasoned with cinnamon, but cinnamon has been shown in numerous studies to help with blood sugar regulation

Huh Yeah, both chronic use of cinnamon in your cooking is really good It can help prevent things like hyperlipidemia and help manage cholesterol and things like that But importantly, cinnamon has been shown to reduce the post-meal blood sugar spike So, I love to sprinkle it on a sweet potato

The flavors go together so well, but they've shown actually in studies that about six grams of cinnamon, which is about a teaspoon and a half, can reduce that post-meal blood sugar spike and we all know that we love to indulge in carbs on holidays so it's a really helpful tip I like that a lot and I use a lot of cinnamon I actually sprinkle it in my coffee, black coffee I love that, yeah I put it in with the black coffee grounds

I like cinnamon in my coffee so that's another easy way to get your cinnamon There you go, that's a great tip, yeah You wanna use ceylon cinnamon too which is I think the best form of it And moving along Yeah, so we've got cocoa powder

A lot of people love hot chocolate, look, I do too, but many of the pre-made hot chocolate mixes are just loaded with sugar So, what I like to do is I like to buy my own cocoa which has no sugar added and I like to make it myself You can use a little bit of Stevia or something like that to cut the sugar And the other thing that you wanna look out for on the back of the package is to make sure that it hasn't been dutched or processed with alkali which degrades the health benefits of the cocoa But cocoa's been shown to boost memory function, it's great for your cardiovascular

Yeah, there's been a lot of discussion about dark chocolate especially over the last few years All of the different health benefits of it Yeah, exactly It's just really good for you and actually, they've done research where they found the people who habitually, like regularly, consume chocolate tend to have better memory function so chocolate's great It's actually a food that I– If you're forgetful, try more chocolate

(audience claps) Okay Alright, Rachael, so we all like to indulge on the holidays That's what makes the holidays so fun, right? But sometimes, we end up after the meal with a bit of a stomachache Peppermint is one of my favorite things to eat after a meal because it helps basically push things along the digestive tract We've all seen mints at the host stands at our favorite restaurants, right? Right, right, right

So, peppermint's really good because basically, it loosens up muscles in the digestive tract that help food move along It also provides an antiinflammatory effect It provides sort of a mild pain relieving effect if you're having an upset stomach and actually also research shows, 'cause you know I love going back to the brain, that peppermint tea can actually boost memory function (audience cheers)