Don’t get hot and cross about traditional Easter buns – Easter treats can be good for you.

For centuries, Easter has been associated with appealing foods. The good news is that many of the ‘naughty but nice’ delights we love at Easter may be better for you than you think, says a leading health expert.

Dr Avinash Hari Narayanan (MBChB), Clinical Lead at London Medical Laboratory, says: ‘If you gave up chocolate or desserts for Lent this year, then the good news is that you needn’t feel too guilty indulging in them at Easter. Some of these seasonal treats may even be surprisingly good for you.

Dark chocolate Easter eggs: ‘Cocoa beans, the main ingredient of chocolate, contain natural, beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. These have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Eating chocolate at least once a week is linked with an 8% reduced risk of heart disease, according to research published in the “European Journal of Preventive Cardiology”.

‘Chocolate eggs may even lead to a healthier heart. A fascinating review of studies in the “British Medical Journal” found that those people who ate the most chocolate were 37% less likely to have coronary heart disease than people who ate the least chocolate. It’s likely the effects of chocolate on the circulatory system – opening the blood vessels and reducing inflammation – can help keep our hearts healthy and ward off heart disease.

Hot cross buns: ‘These can be a good source of fibre and complex carbohydrates. Good-quality, sourdough hot cross buns, purchased from health food shops and local grocery stores, contain healthier ingredients such as sultanas, currants and apricots. If you enjoy eating your bun with butter, try substituting a spread with added plant stanols that can actually reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Simnel cake: ‘Simnel cake has a high ratio of fruits to flour and hence is packed with nutrients. Avoid long shelf-life cakes with glazed and candied fruits and, instead, choose versions with naturally sweetened and dried fruits.

‘Often, Simnel cake has 11 marzipan balls on top, one for each of the Apostles but with the 12th – representing Judas – removed. You may want to go further and drop the remaining 11 for a healthier slice.

‘Eating our favourite delights should be a special event, not an everyday occurrence. A heart health profile blood test will tell you how well your heart is functioning. London Medical Laboratory’s simple, finger-prick blood test indicates risks to heart health and includes a full cholesterol profile, as well as testing for inflammation. It also tests for diabetes, showing how well the body is controlling blood sugar.

‘The Heart Health Profile test can be taken at home through the post, or at one of the many drop-in clinics that offer these tests across London and nationwide in over 120 selected pharmacies and health stores. For full details see: https://www.londonmedicallaboratory.com/product/heart-health-profile

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4262 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.