Thanksgiving is a time where friends and family come together and have a huge meal. Each item in the meal is different and has its own nutritional value. However what are the most nutritious foods at Thanksgiving. Continue reading to learn more about some nutrients at Thanksgiving.
Common Thanksgiving Foods
The staple of most Thanksgiving dinners, turkey has many amazing health benefits due to the nutrients that it provides. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a thick slice of turkey, around 42 grams, contains the following nutrients.
- Calories: 59
- Protein: 12 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Niacin (B3): 30% of the daily recommended amount (DV)
- Vitamin B12: 15% of DV
- Vitamin B6: 25% of DV
- Zinc: 6% DV
- Selenium: 23% DV
Along with all of these nutrients, turkey also contains small amounts of sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, choline, and potassium. All of these nutrients in the turkey also depend on the cut. Dark meat contains more fat and calories than white meat, while white meat has a little more protein.
In addition to being nutritious, turkey also has many health benefits. One being that turkey contains tryptophan. Tryptophan helps the body produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps improve mood. This could be the reason why everyone is happier after the large Thanksgiving meal.
Each potato you eat contains roughly 110 calories depending on the size of it. Along with this, potatoes also are a source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, and pantothenic acid. For added nutrients, the skin, or peel on the outside of the potato contains good amounts of fiber, so you better not cut it out.
Fiber is great for the body as it can do many things. To start, it can help prevent constipation and help promote a healthy digestive tract. It can also help the body with weight management and weight loss.
There are also many ways to incorporate these into your thanksgiving dinner. You can easily boil and mash your potatoes for a classic dish, or even bake them into a casserole. Here is a list from BON APPÉTIT of 40 Thanksgiving Potato Recipes.
Another potato that is found at thanksgiving is the sweet potato. These orange vegetables are low in calories and contain many nutrients and health benefits alike.
For example, sweet potatoes contain powerful antioxidants like lycopene. These antioxidants protect the body against the damage caused by free radicals the body is exposed to through pollution, cigarette smoke, and UV light. The body is also exposed to free radicals when it converts the food that we eat into energy.
Another benefit of sweet potatoes is the nutrients that they add to Thanksgiving dinner. Some of these are, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin B5, and vitamin E.
To add sweet potatoes to your Thanksgiving dinner, you can cook and slice them and add a little cinnamon to make a nice side, or even make candied sweet potatoes or a casserole.
Another nutritious food that is found at almost every Thanksgiving dinner is cranberry. Whether it be fresh or dried cranberries, or even a cranberry spread or jam, it always seems to be present.
Cranberries contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This makes them extremely nutritious for their size and calorie amount. You can find these nutrients in cranberries.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, & B6
In addition to being a very nutritious fruit, cranberries also have many health benefits too. One of which is their ability to help promote a healthy urinary tract. Cranberries.org states that “Since the turn of the century, cranberries have been used as a folk remedy for the treatment of bacterial urinary tract infections (UTI).”
One study conducted by Harvard Medical School showed that cranberry juice does have a relation to preventing UTIs. However, they do state that there are better routes as some people might not like the taste and cranberry juice does have more calories than other juices.
One more of our foods with nutrients at Thanksgiving is pumpkin. Pumpkin has many health benefits along with its nutrients. To start, it contains vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamins B1, B3, B5, and vitamin B6. It even contains small amounts of minerals like iron and copper.
One major health benefit that pumpkin provides is its ability to help fight off infections. It does this by providing the body with a good amount of beta-carotene which can be converted into vitamin A. Studies have shown that vitamin A can help with immune function.
There are many ways to get pumpkin into your diet, especially on thanksgiving. The most common is through pumpkin pie. This is a tasty choice, however, the added sugars and other ingredients lower its nutritional value. Instead of buying one from the store, you can make one at home and opt into avoiding any whipped cream on top. Another way that you can get pumpkin on thanksgiving is to cook the pumpkin seeds out of a carved pumpkin. These make a great snack as well as an appetizer.
There are many nutrients on Thanksgiving. There are also many ways to enjoy these nutrients during the meal. From everyone here at Liquid Health Inc. have a happy Thanksgiving. Be sure to also check out our previous article to learn more about Gratitude and Your Health.