A lot of traditional holiday foods may taste good. But they’re not exactly good for you. Here’s why certain favorites can kill your Christmas spirit. This comes from psychiatrist Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of The Happiness Diet.

  • Ham. Most hams are injected with sugar and salt, along with preservatives that can trigger blue moods and migraines. So, you might want to start a new holiday tradition: serving wild-caught Alaskan salmon. It contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which are just as effective at easing depression as prescription meds.
  • Candied sweet potatoes. They contain enough sugar to guarantee an energy crash after dinner. Also, spikes in blood sugar levels damage your arteries and increase your risk of dementia. The fix? Switch to plain sweet potatoes, which contain nutrients that boost your body’s production of the feel-good chemical dopamine.
  • Vegetable shortening. It may make awesome cookies and pie crust, but partially hydrogenated shortening is loaded with compounds that block out mood-boosting omega-3s. The better choice is pasteurized lard. That’s right, lard. And Dr. Ramsey says that lard gets a bad rap because of its high saturated fat content. But the main saturated fat in lard - stearic acid - doesn’t contribute to heart disease or high cholesterol. Plus, lard contains depression-fighting chemicals, which can actually help improve your mood.

Lesson Expert

Mike Christian

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