By Frida Harju (In-house nutritionist at health and fitness app, Lifesum)
Let’s face it, when we think about Thanksgiving, the first thing that springs to mind is all of the tasty food. Whilst Thanksgiving and dieting don’t exactly go hand in hand, there are still ways to incorporate superfoods into your meal to make sure that, even if your meal is a bit on the calorific side, it still has many health benefits. Here is my pick of the best superfoods to incorporate into your Thanksgiving meal:
Sweet potato is a popular ingredient in many Thanksgiving dishes and the good news is that they contain great nutritional benefits. These potatoes contain a great deal of the vitamins C and E, known as the ‘beauty supplement’ because of their fantastic effects on skin and hair. Vitamin C also helps maintain gum and teeth health, the functioning of the nervous system and enhances our ability to absorb iron, making it a key nutrient for our bodies.
Sweet potatoes are also known to contain high fiber content, which ensures that they have a ‘slow burning’ quality, meaning that their energy is used by your body far more slowly and efficiently than other carbohydrates, thus making them a great food for helping you maintain energy throughout Thanksgiving.
No Thanksgiving would be complete without the use of cinnamon in our favorite dishes and luckily for us it carries powerful health benefits. Packed with even more antioxidants than garlic, cinnamon has been proven to help protect and heal your body from a whole variety of ailments, from helping remove bad cholesterol (LDL) from the body, to being a key ingredient in treating everything from a common cold to easing the symptoms of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Not only are apples low in calories, but they are rich in fiber, making them a great aid to your digestive system. Added to this is the fact that apples help improve the functioning of the good bacteria in our large intestine, which helps maximize our body’s ability to uptake nutrients, whilst also eliminating harmful bacteria and toxins.
Cooked pumpkin contains high levels of potassium, making it a great source of energy during your Thanksgiving celebrations. Not only this, the oil found in pumpkin seeds is proven to be highly beneficial in preventing high blood pressure, while also playing a vital role in hormone productions and joint lubrication. Another reason to love pumpkins (especially at Thanksgiving) is that they may even be a natural mood enhancer, making them the perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving!
They may not be our favorite Thanksgiving vegetable, but there are lots of reasons why they should be! Sprouts are rich not only in vitamin C and K, which help maintain healthy bones, but also carotenoids, which are essential for supporting good vision. Like sweet potato, sprouts are a great source of vitamin C, but added to this is the fact that they contain very low sodium and fat content, making them a great vegetable for supporting the health of your heart.