7 Food Items For A Healthier Thanksgiving

Discussion in 'Dietetics' started by Mahmoud Abudeif, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

    Mar 5, 2019
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    The holidays are great fun, and getting your fill of yummy foods on Thanksgiving is a national tradition. However, people tend to put on a bit of weight with unhealthy food choices made during the holiday season.

    In a study exploring the value of daily self-weighing during the holiday season, researchers put this weight gain in perspective: “[V]ery short periods of time throughout the year are shown to account for a considerable portion of yearly weight gain. One of those critical times is the holiday season (mid-November to January).”

    At the risk of being total killjoys, we present seven healthier, nutrient-rich food items to include in your Thanksgiving meal.


    This fruit is rich in antioxidant phenolic compounds, and antioxidants boost immunity by preventing damage secondary to oxidative stress (ie, reactive oxygen species). Cranberry consumption has also been shown to help fight cancer, atherosclerosis, and hypertension. A-type proanthocyanidins found in cranberry give it antibacterial properties by interfering with the adherence of Escherichia coli to uroepithelial cells in the urothelial tract.

    Turnip and its cruciferous friends

    Mixed in with mouthfuls of mashed potatoes and turkey, a cruciferous vegetable or two may make its way into your stomach. Cruciferous vegetables include turnip, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. They are high in vitamin and mineral content, low in calories, and high in fiber. Okay, no surprise here.

    But here’s a surprising fact about cruciferous vegetables—they are rich in chitinase. Chitinase is a type of enzyme that breaks down chitin, which is the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature after cellulose, and found in the exoskeletons of insects, in fungal cell walls, and in certain structures in vertebrates and invertebrates.

    According to a review article published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences: “Chitinases have a significant function in human health care. An important medical use for chitinases has also been recommended in augmenting the activity of anti-fungal drugs in therapy for fungal diseases. Due to their topical applications, they have a prospective use in anti-fungal creams and lotions …Chitinases also have some other medical applications as well … Several lines of evidence have demonstrated the importance of chitinases as an effector of host defense in the mammalian immune system.”


    The key bioactive ingredients in cinnamon are essential oils and derivatives, such as cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, and cinnamate.

    In addition to having a high antioxidant profile, cinnamon has numerous health benefits, some of which include:
    • Antibacterial activity against gastrointestinal and respiratory pathogens

    • Anti-inflammatory properties via inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)

    • Blood glucose-lowering effects

    • Neurocognitive protection against some degenerative disorders like Alzheimer disease via inhibition of the aggregation of tau protein

    Although it may make your breath reek during after-dinner conversation, garlic is good for your body, particularly cardiovascular health. In some studies, garlic slowed the development of atherosclerosis per ultrasound findings and measures of brachial artery flow. Furthermore, garlic extract has been shown to lower heart disease biomarkers, including C-reactive protein (CRP) and LDL cholesterol. Garlic has antiplatelet activity, and inhibits COX-1 activity and thromboxane A2 formation.

    Pumpkin spice

    Love it or hate it, pumpkin spice appears to be good for you. It is a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. The health benefits of cinnamon have been discussed, but both ginger and cloves are good for you, too. In human trials, ginger supplements decreased appetite, BMI values, and insulin resistance. Furthermore, cloves—like various other spices, including rosemary and sage—are rich in antioxidants.


    Go ahead and season your bird with rosemary. Bioactive compounds in rosemary include phenolic acids, diterpenes, flavonoids, and tannins, as well as volatile oils. According to some studies, rosemary may be good for the brain by enhancing communication between brain cells. Specifically, rosemary foils both acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase in vitro.


    And the bird itself? Skinless turkey is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, while chock-full of B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and high-quality protein. And if you want a natural sleep agent, turkey is also rich in tryptophan. (Just kidding, tryptophan in turkey doesn’t make you sleepy.)

    Researchers have shown that self-weighing in the morning during the holiday season may help you to maintain your baseline weight. So, if you have trouble consciously rebuffing the bounties of Thanksgiving, you can always engage the scale each morning for a debriefing.


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