Nutrient-packed hacks to make the holidays full of superfoods

It's the holiday season, so we are providing you with seven superfood ingredients to add to your diet. (Gabriela Faraone | Collegian Media Group)

It’s almost holiday season, so that means we are getting mentally and physically ready to get into a food coma.

However, this is also a great opportunity to shift gears and turn this Thanksgiving from naughty to nourishing. Here are some nutrient-packed foods to use in your favorite dishes.

1. Chia seeds

These small black seeds are full of antioxidants, insoluble fiber and protein with very little caloric impact. These seeds have a neutral flavor, so they could be used in infinite ways from adding them to salads or making delicious sweet chia pudding for dessert. They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are “anti-inflammatory and important for cardiovascular health by helping control triglyceride levels.”

2. Berries

Berries are the perfect ingredient to add to pies, parfait or even drinks. Not only they are low in sugar and help improve insulin response, but they are also packed with antioxidants and contain ellagic acid, which contains anti-cancer properties. All types of berries are a great sources of fiber that help the digestive system work smoothly.

3. Cinnamon

The unmistakably warm, spicy fragrance that “smells like fall” is one of the most utilized spices in the world. It complements apples, pears and winter squash perfectly. Ground cinnamon comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree and contains multiple antioxidant compounds that reduce free-radical damage. Studies have shown cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar.

4. Dark chocolate

It’s an ingredient that cannot be missed during holidays. High-quality dark chocolate that is low in sugar and without added milk or other preservatives can help improve skin, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also contains a lot of great antioxidants which are important for controlling free-radical damage.

5. Oats

If you are planning to bake some cookies during this holiday, try using oat flour instead of all purpose flour. This way you are adding whole grains to your diet and adding great flavor to whatever recipe you are following. Oats are very high in fiber, making you feel satisfied faster and for a prolonged time. They can also help lower blood sugar and contain antioxidants, vitamins E and B and healthy fats.

6. Walnuts

With seasonal affective disorder coming into full swing, eat this incredible nut to help you improve your mood. Walnuts are anti-inflammatory and lower your LDL cholesterol levels. They also contain iron, selenium, calcium, zinc, vitamin E and some B vitamins.

7. Ginger

Last but not least, this magical root plant can help with stomach problems. Ginger contains chemicals that may reduce nausea and inflammation. Researchers believe the chemicals work primarily in the stomach and intestines, but they may also work in the brain and nervous system to control nausea.