The Health Benefits of Thanksgiving Foods

turkey_thanksgiving
With Thanksgiving just around the corner,  here is a list of those holiday staples have serious health benefits.

Turkey:
Packed with hunger-fighting and muscle-building protein — even the dark meat is good for you! Turkey is one of the most nutritious kinds of lean meat you can eat, with even less fat and calories than chicken. It is also an excellent source of the amino acid Arginine, an essential building block for proteins, which also plays a role in cell division, wound healing, immune function, and hormone function. 

Sweet Potatoes:
Low in calories, yet bursting with natural sweetness and powerful antioxidants like lycopene, that stop fatty acids from oxidizing in our vessels. There are so many ways to eat sweet potatoes: baked, stuffed, mashed, roasted or whipped into sweet potato pie.

Cranberries:
Fresh or dried, cranberries are packed with fiber, cell-protecting anthocyanins and vitamin C. Cranberries have shown wonderful benefits for protecting the inner lining of our blood vessels for people with heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Green Beans:
These tasty beans give you vitamins C, A and K, plus iron and fiber – all for about 35 calories per cup.

Apples
Keep the doctor away with vitamins A and C and the inflammation-fighting phytochemical called quercetin. Keep the peels on when you make pies, tarts and applesauce – there are lots of nutrients in there.

Pumpkin
Add both the flesh and seeds to your holiday dishes to get vitamins, minerals, omega-3s and antioxidants like lutein and beta carotene. Pumpkin is a low fat, low calorie food that is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Zinc and Potassium. Most of the unhealthy aspects of pumpkin pie come from the heavy whipped cream and the buttery crust. Believe it or not, you can actually make whipped cream using skim milk with a powerful enough blender, and substituting a flour crust for crushed pecans adds significant nutritional benefits and tastes even better.

Sage:
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without this robust herb. A little goes a long way, giving big flavor for a smidge of calories. Read more about this quintessential fall flavor.

Cinnamon:
Cinnamon is a powerful spice – it gives savory dishes warmth and depth and brings out the flavor of fall favorites like apples, pears and pumpkin. You’ll also get a dose of fiber, calcium and iron. Regular consumption of this toasty spice may also help keep blood sugar and cholesterol in check.

During this Thanksgiving, one of the most significant thing we can do is to be thankful.  Let us not forget about the actual act of “thanks-giving.”  Studies have shown that gratitude has incredible positive effects on health and well-being.  Research is showing that gratitude is associated with reduced blood pressure, stress, depression, and lower risk of development of eating disorders, phobias, and addictions. 

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