What are the Health Benefits of Passover Foods?
This spring holiday is filled with more than just matzo. From traditional dishes to symbolic foods, the Passover feast is filled with a wide variety of good-for-you nutrients.
Hard-boiled eggs mixed with salt water are served as an appetizer during the Passover feast.
Nutrition: Eggs are a perfect protein (yolks too) and are chock-full of vitamins A and D and the antioxidant lutein, which helps promote healthy skin and eyes.
Matzo ball soup (above, from Food Network Magazine) made in a chicken stock is traditionally served during the big meal. The secret ingredient of any homemade stock is a mirepoix made from celery, onion, and carrots.
Nutrition: Stock contains many nutrients like niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and potassium.
In Yiddish, gefilte fish means stuffed fish. To make the dish, white fish (such as carp) is ground and mixed with other ingredients like eggs, carrots, and spices and formed into fish cakes that are then poached or baked.
Nutrition: This dish is high in protein and brimming with energy boosting B-vitamins, selenium, zinc and potassium.
Horseradish, with its overpowering flavor, is used as the bitter herbs (or maror), which represents the tears and affliction the Jewish slaves experienced during their time in Egypt. In some households, horseradish is also served alongside gefilte fish and used as a condiment.
Nutrition: Prepared horseradish is low in calories (7 per tablespoon). It also contains vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Horseradish also contains the plant chemical glucosinolate, which may help fight cancer.
Wine is considered a royal drink, which symbolizes freedom. It's customary to drink four glasses of red wine during the Passover feast in order to celebrate freedom from oppression.
Nutrition: Studies have found the antioxidant resveratrol found in red wine may help prevent heart disease.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day. See Toby's full bio »