For most of us, the holiday season means mountains of baked goods. Between peppermint bark, advent calendars and gingerbread cookies, the sugar adds up.

But not all of your holiday favorites will make you feel like you need to detox in January. There are some health benefits of holiday food—surprise, surprise. Many of the ingredients in the things you're already planning on eating actually have some health benefits that you'll be grateful for. 


cookie, sweet, gingerbread, cake, chocolate
Emery Sereno

It's hard to get through the holidays without being offered at least one gingerbread cookie. While too many cookies won't exactly get you those surfboard abs, the ginger in these cookies helps with your iron and manganese intake for the day. Iron helps your body produce energy and supports tissue health. Manganese is a mineral that helps support wound healing and regulates your metabolism.


cream, milk, peppermint, sweet, chocolate, candy
Alex Frank

Whether it's peppermint bark, candy canes, or a Starbucks holiday drink, the holidays wouldn't be complete without some peppermint. Aside from being delicious, peppermint can also help your body in some major ways. Peppermint soothes your stomach overall. In addition, peppermint can help alleviate colds and the flu.

Peppermint also supports teeth health, so your dentist doesn't yell at you too much for not flossing. In the middle of cold and flu season, incorporate peppermint into your diet in order to help your respiratory system and ease headaches and muscle pain.


tea, beer
Emery Sereno

There's absolutely nothing better than curling up with a glass of hot cocoa during the holidays. Next time you make a cup, think about adding cinnamon. Cinnamon is known to lower inflammation in the body that could lead to other diseases. In addition, cinnamon can help lower your risk for heart disease. It can reduce the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol, which are big markers of heart disease. 

To recharge during winter break, cinnamon can also help regulate your metabolism and energy use. Even though we might not be thinking about our cholesterol levels right now, it's never too early to start.


sweetmeat, goody, chocolate, sweet, candy
Emery Sereno

Not just a Thanksgiving food, cranberries are delicious in cookies, scones, and especially drinks. Cranberries can improve your skin's health. Eating whole cranberries can help support your cardiovascular and liver health. Think twice next time you're thinking of passing on that cranberry sauce.

Even if you're trying to start the new year off on a healthy foot, you should still stick to some holiday staples. Knowing the health benefits of holiday foods can help you pick and choose what's best for your body. By changing the way you eat these ingredients, you can survive the holidays and ring in 2017 healthy and ready to go.