Do you like eggnog? I sure do! It is creamy, rich, and satisfying, and loaded with delicious spices that warm you up from the inside during cold weather. To me, eggnog is the classic holiday drink. People have purportedly been drinking something resembling eggnog – various versions of eggs, milk/cream, spices and alcohol – since at least the 13th century, when monks in Britain drank “posset,” a warm ale punch with eggs and figs. Even George Washington is reported to have published his own eggnog recipe, containing cream and eggs and 4 different types of alcohol! Hoowee!
We typically think of eggnog as a very naughty holiday indulgence, being full of calories, especially fat, sugar and alcohol. But, perhaps surprisingly, eggnog can actually be quite good for you, when made low carb and with quality Paleo ingredients, such as my eggnog recipe.
For instance, eggnog contains a surprising amount of vitamins and minerals, especially when made with high quality ingredients such as pastured eggs, coconut or macadamia nut milk, and collagen powder. The spices, too, boost the nutritiousness of eggnog.
Let’s look at each of the ingredients in turn.
The eggs in eggnog supply a hefty dose of quality fats and proteins, especially when you choose good quality eggs from happy, pastured hens.
Despite old reports that eggs are unhealthy due to their high cholesterol and fat content, eggs are actually quite good for you. In fact, high quality pastured eggs are one of the most nutrient dense foods out there. I often refer to eggs as “the perfect food” – one egg contains 6-7 grams of good quality, complete protein, a decent dose of healthy fats (especially the anti-inflammatory Omega 3s), and numerous vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants, including folate, choline, biotin, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D and E, and lutein and zeaxanthin.
Egg consumption is correlated with improved heart health, according to recent research. In one study, including eggs in a low carb diet increased HDL cholesterol levels and decreased risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome in overweight study participants. And, egg consumption did not raise LDL or total cholesterol levels.
In another study, daily egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared with rarely or never eating eggs. Daily egg consumers had a 26% lower risk of stroke, and an 18% lower risk of CVD death, and those who ate eggs daily had a 12% lower risk for heart disease and a 14% lower risk for major cardiac events compared with those who did not eat eggs.
For an energy boost and support for healthy cognitive function, coconut milk is another healthy aspect of my low carb Paleo eggnog. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut products provide a quick, clean-burning fuel for your cells, and are thermogenic, meaning they boost your metabolism and ramp up body fat burning. They are also known for providing a brain boost, as the metabolic byproducts of medium-chain triglycerides (called ketones) are a high-powered fuel for our brains.
Macadamia Nut Milk
As I discuss in my Macadamia Nut Bread recipe post, macadamia nuts have an excellent macronutrient profile:
- 88% fat
- 4% protein
- 8% carbs
and contain lots of healthy fats:
- 77% mono-unsaturated fats – the stuff that makes olive oil so revered
- 16% health-supporting, anti-inflammatory saturated fat
- only 7% of the super inflammatory poly-unsaturated fats
and they have an anti-inflammatory, health-enhancing Omega 6:3 ratio of 6.63:1.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, and serves many important functions. Its fiber-like structure is used to make connective tissue, and this type of tissue is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. It helps to make our tissues strong and resilient, and thus more resistant to wear and tear. The benefits of collagen are many, and include improvements in:
- Skin health
- Joint Health
- Gut Health
- Blood Sugar Control
- Brain Health
- Sleep Quality
Our bodies gradually make less collagen as we age, leading to an increased need to consume more from our diets, which is why I regularly recommend higher intakes of protein, bone broth and collagen powder to my patients as they age. Collagen is found only in animal flesh like meat, poultry and fish, and animal-derived collagen powder.
In addition to being anti-inflammatory, the spices in eggnog – cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves – also contain loads of antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your cells against oxidative stress, a process that damages and inflames the cells and accelerates aging.
And they are also all warming spices, meaning they boost your metabolism and improve digestion, and help heat you up from the inside (boosting your Yang energy), which feels great on cold winter days! If you have trouble staying warm during the winter, increase your intake of these and other warming spices to help fend off the cold.
Even The Alcohol Has Health Benefits
You can have your eggnog with or without alcohol, depending on preference. Without, it’ll have all the above benefits. But if you decide to add a splash of rum, brandy or whiskey to your eggnog – all of which are zero carb – there are some potential health benefits.
As I mentioned in my blog post/podcast episode Wine: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, research indicates that low to moderate alcohol consumption improves mood, lowers stress, and is associated with a reduced risk of depression.
It also lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, and over time provides a boost to cognitive performance as well, particularly problem-solving and short term memory.
My recommendation is always to choose low carb alcohol when you do drink, and to keep consumption low and on the less frequent side, since alcohol does create a bit of extra stress for our livers, and it also halts fat burning for up to 18 hours. But as an occasional treat, such as having my low carb Paleo eggnog during the holidays, there are some clear-cut benefits to a splash of the sauce.
So go enjoy yourself a glass of tasty, nutritious eggnog, and happy holidays!
*Disclaimer: I may receive a small commission for purchases made using some of the links in this article.