5 Healthy Foods That Bring Good Luck in the New Year

 Feast for good fortune with these lucky (and healthy!) foods.

close up of sparklers sparkling during the new year
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All around the world, New Year’s Day is flush with traditions—from breaking dishes in Denmark, to ritual bathing in Sri Lanka—but most revolve around eating “lucky” foods. This year, skip the holiday cakes and cookies, and give yourself some good fortune with these lucky (and nutritious) foods.

a "lucky" bowl of sauerkraut
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Eating good-for-your-gut sauerkraut is a long-standing New Year’s Eve tradition in Germany; Germans believe it brings blessings and wealth to the new year. They can add digestive regularity to the list, too.

The fermentation process of this stinky food promotes the growth of naturally occurring probiotics, which may help promote healthy digestion, and makes it easier for the body to absorb the vitamin C, iron and potassium in cabbage. Enjoy plain sauerkraut or add it to a sandwich or salad.

cooked kale
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Cooked greens

Incorporating more greens, like kale, chard and collards, into your diet is a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins C, K and E, and fiber. And, according to many cultures, it can also increase your financial prosperity in the new year. Why? Greens resemble folded paper money. If you can’t stomach a full plate of greens, add them to your New Year’s morning smoothie or omelet.

a slice of salmon seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme
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Fatty fish

Fish is a traditional New Year’s dish because their scales resemble coins, symbolizing prosperity, and they swim forward, symbolizing progression. Plus, fresh, low-mercury fish, like salmon and trout, are good sources of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and have been linked to reduced inflammation and arterial plaque, which contribute to heart disease.

Swap saturated fat-packed foods like beef for one to two servings of fish every week to reap the rewards.

a plate of cold soba noodles, which are lucky in Japan
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Soba noodles

In Japan, slurping soba noodles without breaking them on New Year’s symbolizes a long life. The noodles are typically made from buckwheat, so they contain fewer calories and carbs than regular pasta, and provide about 12 percent daily value of protein. Combine soba noodles with low-sodium broth, fresh veggies and an egg for a filling New Year’s dinner.

a bowl of legumes, symbolizing wealth in the new year
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Legumes, like beans, peas and lentils, symbolize wealth in New Year traditions around the globe, and in the southern United States, Hoppin’ John with black-eyed peas symbolizes humility and good fortune.

Legumes are rich in nutritional value, too. They’re packed with protein and fiber, and may even increase longevity. In fact, one study found that eating 1/2 cup of beans each day reduced mortality by about 30 percent. And according to the Blue Zones Power 9 Principles, centenarians—those who live to at least 100—in a Blue Zone typically consume a diet based largely on beans, including fava, black and soy.

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