Here's how your Christmas dinner can help fight off cancer, diabetes

London, Dec 25(IANS) While festive season is often a time of overindulgence, Christmas dinner can actually be healthy, and help ward off risk of cancer and diabetes, according to a study.

Experts at Newcastle University have been researching the different characteristics and compounds of festive trimmings and have found that some of the side-dishes offer significant benefits.

In the research, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, the team said soggy sprouts should be off the menu, and instead include steamed Brussels sprouts -- cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, cabbage, collard greens and kale.

Steaming brussels sprouts can help the vegetable retain its glucosinolates, which may aid the body in fighting chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, the researchers found.

In particular, they have a high content of glucosinolates - an important molecule that interacts with proteins associated with repairing damaged DNA and promoting cell death in cancer tumours.

Whilst glucosinolates are highest in raw Brussels sprouts, cooking affects their contents.

“If you boil the Brussels sprouts, then you lose a lot of the important compounds into the water," said Dr Kirsten Brandt, Senior Lecturer in Food and Human Nutrition at Newcastle University, UK.

“If you roast them, they are being broken down during the cooking, so steaming is the one that gives most of these tasty and healthy compounds in the final product," Brandt said.

Researchers also found that the popular festive side-dish of carrots could help reduce the risk of cancer by almost a quarter.

The team found five servings of the vegetable per week was linked to a 20 per cent reduction in developing all types of cancer.

In addition, eating just one serving per week still gives a significant reduction, with a 4 per cent lower chance of the disease compared to those who never eat the vegetable.

For the research, scientists carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of nearly 200 studies and 4.7 million participants.

They showed that the whole carrot, rather than carotenes, provides an anti-cancer effect when consumed in enough quantity.

The scientists also studied more than 250 varieties of potatoes, looking at different qualities from tuber characteristics to their ability to resist disease and climate stress.

Potatoes are rich in fibre and ideal for popping in the air fryer as the healthiest way to cook the festive trimming to a golden crisp.

They found that rooster potatoes are perfect for making the best roast potato.



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