I am beginning my New Year’s Resolution research to a new level this year, and getting serious about improving my and my family’s life. From glowing skin, to fighting cancer- I’ve been tracking down as many Superfoods I can add to our diet, or keeping on the grocery list already. Many of you are already making there preparations for your Holiday Feast. While you do so, here’s some things to consider with what goes on the menu, and the plates of family and friends. You can aid their health and give them a great healthy meal by packing full your choices with Superfoods many of you may already bought. This list below is just a start, and I’d love to hear your comments on what you do in your family to promote healthy eating in your home.
Let’s start off with Thanksgiving Dinner! First things first- TURKEY! The main course on most of our Thanksgiving Day Meals is Turkey. It’s a great low fat dish, high in niacin, selenium, B6 and B12, and zinc to name a few. It helps aid a heart healthy lifestyle, and has many cancer fighting properties. Second, which is something many of us don’t know, is Pumpkin. Let’s get real, the most pumpkin most of us see is Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving, but did you know that pumpkin is among some of the top Superfoods of the list? It’s full of fiber, and has an abundance of disease fighting nutrients. Remember, pumpkin is a great antioxidant, anti inflammatory, aids in diabetes, lowers heart risks, is good against cataracts, and macular degeneration. It also helps fight cancer of lungs, colon, bladder, cervix, breast, and skin. So don’t feel so guilty about that extra slice in the middle of the night!
While we’re on the topic of dessert what about that American Tradition- Apple Pie. Apples are super anti oxidants, and that fabulous cinnamon spice helps with diabetes and sugar control. Try sweetening it with applesauce for an added punch. Another dessert favorite is Dark Chocolate. Its a great anti oxidant as well, and helps lower blood pressure. Just remember the darker the better, look for at least 60% cocoa content or more.
Okay since we began with the end of the meal, let’s skip back forward to appetizers. Remember these a small servings! Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers are always a favorite. Dairy sometimes gets a bad rap, but it contains bone building calcium and in some cases helps with weight control. Maybe add some warm edamame to the list as well. Soy lowers cholesterol and aids against breast cancer. Maybe add some hot, or sweet peppers to the mix as well. Peppers are getting more and more recognition for their anti inflammatory, analgesic, anti cancer properties. They’re heart healthy, and contain vitamin C. They’ve actually been shown to help with headaches and sore throats. *Personally, I use cayenne pepper in water to gurgle then swallow a little for sore throats. It is the best thing I’ve ever found for a really bad, ‘can’t swallow a thing’ sore throat. It only helps with pain only, & this should not be taken as medical advice!
Let’s move on to salad. I LOVE SALAD! It’s like a mini masterpiece of superfoods too. For a green salad, try spinach instead of regular lettuce, it’s loaded with Vitamins A, C, & K, folate, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, lutein, and fiber. Whew, that’s a mouth full! Try adding more superfoods on top of that and you’ll get a great start to a healthy meal- try slices of avaocados (full of Vitamin E, Folate, potassium, and magnesium), sliced hard boiled eggs (helps lower cholesterol and its full of protein), tomatoes (helps fight heart disease, and cancer), carrots (gives skin a healthy glow and promotes vision), and sprinkle it with some walnuts. Walnuts, and most other nuts are a great heart healthy staple- helps lower risk for heart attack up to 51% by eating a handful of nuts five times a week. It also aids in cancer, diabetes, has lots of protein and fiber, and is also an antioxidant too. Remember too much of a good thing, is bad. Keep your portions small.
Now how about a nice fruit salad- another fabulous source packaged full of disease preventing agents. Try mixing watermelon, papayas, mango, blue berries, other dark berries, apples, kiwi, and pomegranates. Maybe even add a little low fat yogurt or Kefir. Watermelon is full of vitamin A & C, potassium, and lycopene. Pomengranates are rich in potassium, vitamins C, B6, and antioxidants. Research has shown it aids in healing of atherosclersosis, and other cardio problems, helps raise your good cholesterol (LDL). and lowers blood pressure. Pomengranates are actually better for your health than cranberries and red wine. Mangos are high in Vitamin C & A, and also helps lower blood pressure. Kiwi may also surprise you- did you know one kiwi a day will give you your daily requirement of Vitamin C? While it also contains potassium, fiber, and Vitamins A & E. Dark berries, including blue berries, are great antioxidants, and help control your blood sugar. They’re also a good source to lower your risk for heart disease and cancer. Adding that touch of yogurt or Kefir will help aid in digestion, and is a great probiotic. Its also full of calcium, protein, and potassium.
As an alternate main dish, try doing a nice Salmon. Salmon, as well as many fish is high in Omega 3 and can help with heart disease prevention, arthritis, and memory loss. Always try to buy wild. If you’re curious about mercury content, the levels are low, and the benefits certainly out weigh the risk. A favorite side dish is Sweet Potatoes. They’re packed full of goodness. They have added Vitamins A & C, calcium, and potassium. They help aid in fighting bone loss, and lowering your blood pressure. They’re not just for Thanksgiving either, try replacing a baked potato with a baked Sweet Potato a couple times a week. Other goodies are broccoli- which have some of the same benefits as Sweet Potatoes, and they help aid in digestion.
Don’t forget the rolls! My family was notorious for forgetting the rolls every year. Make some good and hearty whole grain rolls and try sweetening with a touch of honey. Besides the plus side of the whole grains, honey can help respiratory problems, helps improve skin, promotes urinary health, and fights against eczema, and psoriasis. Top the hot rolls with cranberries! A Thanksgiving staple that’s also packed full of healing properties.
Now when it comes to spices and oils- add flavor with onions (heart healthy, anti- cancer, anti inflammatory) garlic, (besides the typical heart disease reducer and anti cancer, it also is an anti viral/ inflammatory), peppers (sweet and spicy) and add oils like olive oils and nut oils for even more heart healthy abilities. Now that your meal is prepared- don’t forget adding some good beneficial beverages to the menu. Green and Black Teas (both are equal antioxidants), with a little mango or pomengranate for flavor ans sweetness, good old fashioned Milk for bone building calcium, and for the adults- Red Wine, which is also known for reducing heart disease in limited quantities.
Well, know we know what’s behind this American Tradition’s top menu choice. I know I’ve missed some favorites, and definitely there’s more superfoods to go around. But here’s a good start to Thanksgiving and eating healthier. I’ll continue on my mission for finding the best foods- many of them we all should be adding to our diets on a regular, if not daily basis.
So, give thanks for all the goodness on your plates!