Happy Turkey Day to our friends near and far! Today kicks off a season not only of holidays, but of hibernation and, for far too many, weight gain. Make a commitment today to consider the benefits – or detriments – of the foods you choose to put into your body. We’ll start with a few Thanksgiving staples, below, and we encourage you to do the same for the upcoming days and months. Remember, moderation and variety are keys to experiencing benefits of a well-rounded diet. (And a sweet treat once in a while never hurt anyone, unless sugar is a medical concern, of course.)
Turkey – This protein source is also rich in niacin, vitamin B6, zinc and vitamin B12. And if you stick with the white meat of turkey, it’s low in fat and high in protein. The downfall, though, is that, although tryptophan is a valuable amino acid, it also has been blamed for making those who consume it very sleepy. This is not proven to be true, however, and it could be just the size of the meal on this treasured holiday.
Stuffing – Traditionally, this Thanksgiving dish is made with bread, eggs, veggies, herbs and spices, so if the chef is careful and thoughtful, this is one side that can really pack a punch! Think grains, garlic, thyme, parsley, onion and celery, and antioxidants found in bread crust.
Mashed potatoes – Potatoes are a great source of vitamins C and B6, as well as niacin and manganese, but when made into mashed potatoes, with fatty milk and loads of butter, it’s important to enjoy this side in moderation.
Cranberry sauce – Cranberries not only offer a massive amount of antioxidants that can fight urinary tract infections, colds and flus, but just one cup can offer a ton of fiber and a good deal of the recommended daily vitamin C intake.
Green beans – Fresh veggies are always the most nutritious, but cooking this side dish is recommended to neutralize their lectins (which can cause digestive distress for some), but the vitamins and minerals certainly aren’t lost in doing so. This legume is a great source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate (important for a healthy pregnancy and baby) and the mineral silicon (for healthy bones, skin and hair).
Pumpkin pie – Yes, this is the sweet treat we were referring to in our intro, but we’ll focus on the amazing fruit that is used to create this traditional Thanksgiving pie. The pumpkin is rich in antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and it’s rich in fiber, helping you feel fuller longer (less likely to snack later). It also has vitamin A for eye health and to help the body fight infections, viruses and infectious diseases (COVID!!) and essential minerals like potassium, magnesium and iron that can help the heart.