Favorite Holiday Flavors and Their Health Benefits

Bowl of cranberries

No matter your age, smelling and tasting holiday flavors as they come out each season invokes a certain kind of magic. As you plan dishes this season with a variety of signature flavors that will bring back many memories, you may reap some health benefits as well!

Favorite Holiday Flavors


This holiday classic is often sprinkled on top of cookies, coffee drinks, or used in tea. Cinnamon has a ton of medicinal properties. It’s loaded with antioxidants and has been shown to lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Cinnamon has also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.


There are more to these sweet berries than the cranberry sauce served on Thanksgiving. The peak season for cranberries is October through December, when you will see them fresh in your grocery store. One cup of cranberries has 45 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrates and four grams of fiber. They are loaded with antioxidants and have been shown to help reduce inflammation. Additionally, cranberries are well-known for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to their antibacterial properties. Sprinkle cranberries on top of yogurt, add it to oatmeal or make homemade cranberry sauce.


The scent of pine fills the air when you put out holiday wreaths, trees and candles. For many, this scent brings back happy holiday memories, but does it offer any other benefits? Evergreen works well as an essential oil that can help relieve blocked sinuses or cold symptoms.


Vanilla is a popular flavor year-round, but it takes on a whole new dimension during the holiday season. Vanilla beans and vanilla extract are rich with the compound Vanillin. Vanillin is thought to be an antioxidant, have anti-inflammatory effects and boost brain health. Vanilla also has a sweeter taste and may reduce your desire for adding extra sugar to food and beverages. Add some vanilla to your favorite drink or even in your oatmeal.


You can’t think about the holiday season without thinking about peppermint! This herb is crossed between spearmint and water mint. Peppermint is known for relieving an upset stomach and is often found in teas and essential oils. It can also help with your sinuses because of the menthol and antimicrobial benefits it contains, which can make breathing easier.


Remember chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Chestnuts have a different nutritional profile than most nuts. They are mostly comprised of complex carbohydrates and are lower in protein and fat. One ounce has 70 calories and 15 grams of carbs. Chestnuts are also a good source of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. Consider roasting them and adding them to a salad or putting them in a side dish like baked squash.

Everyone has their favorite holiday flavors that make food and drinks more festive. This holiday season, enjoy your favorites, but also branch out and try something new!

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