The Scary Truth About Halloween--and 5 Guilt-Free Treats

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Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Here are 5 guilt-free indulgences you can enjoy on Halloween and throughout the holiday season.Since the dawn of time, man has been indulging his sweet tooth with fruits and berries. Today, the aisles of our supermarkets are filled with sugar-laden treats. But tonight is perhaps the biggest sugar nightmare of all—as pint-sized ghosts and goblins go from house to house loading up on all of the makings of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

But Halloween—and the entire sugar-filled, high-fat holiday season—doesn’t have to expand your waistline or spike your blood sugar. In fact, here are five holiday indulgences you can enjoy, guilt-free…

1. Dark chocolate, eaten in moderation, reduces your stroke and heart disease risk, helps you lose weight, and improves cognitive function, mood, blood pressure, and insulin sensitivity. The biggest health benefits are found in chocolate bars that are 70% cocoa—so go ahead and enjoy it, in moderation.

2. Nuts are one of the best snack foods around, and almonds top the list when it comes to health benefits. When hunger strikes, eat ¼ cup of these raw or dry roasted, unsalted nuts. You’ll fill up and get plenty of heart-healthy magnesium and vitamin E to boot!

3. Vegetables with hummus. Cut up some fresh broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, snap peas, bell pepper strips, or cauliflower flowerets and dip them in a little hummus. The calorie count of the veggies is low, plus they are full of stick-to-your-ribs fiber, while two tablespoons of hummus contains about 60 calories.

4. Red wine is not only enjoyable; it may actually help to extend your life. Studies have shown that moderate wine consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, improves insulin sensitivity, and lowers the risk of diabetes and some types of cancer, and fights depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Beer. If beer is on tap at your holiday celebrations, go ahead and enjoy a mug. Not only is it okay, it’s a preventative for a multitude of health conditions including osteoporosis, heart attacks, and stroke. But don’t forget that the positive effects of alcohol end after one or two drinks.

Now it’s your turn: What is your favorite holiday indulgence?

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