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5 Myths About Thanksgiving Meals—Debunked

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If solely the turkey in your Thanksgiving desk may speak. That fowl would love a phrase about how “exhausting” it’s.

The concept turkey makes us drained has been handed round vacation celebrations for a very long time—and it’s not the one fable shared yr after yr. Is canned pumpkin actually much less nutritious than recent? Is dousing the cranberries in sugar an absolute should?

Right here, we debunk these and different myths about Thanksgiving meals—so you may serve up the information at this yr’s feast.

Fable: Turkey makes you drained.

Fact: Turkey meat contains L-tryptophan, which is a necessary amino acid that helps produce serotonin—usually described because the “feel-good” hormone—and melatonin, which promotes sleep. “However you’d must eat plenty of turkey—truly about 4 kilos of it—by your self, in a single sitting, for it to make you sleepy,” says Roxana Ehsani, a registered dietitian nutritionist primarily based in Miami.

So why can we get drowsy after inhaling a big holiday feast? “Probably since you’re consuming excessive quantities of carbohydrate-rich meals—like stuffing or mashed potatoes, rolls, cornbread, all of the desserts, possibly even a couple of alcoholic drinks,” Ehsani says. “All these issues will trigger a rise in blood sugar and then a crash, which is able to result in fatigue.” Research indicates that high-carb, high-fat meals—howdy, Thanksgiving dinner—result in sleepiness that often hits the toughest about 60 to 90 minutes after consuming.

If you happen to’re hoping to stay energetic for that flag-football sport, go for small parts, take breaks after which get seconds for those who’re nonetheless hungry after 20 minutes, and cease consuming after you’re full. Turkey, vindicated.

Fable: Canned pumpkin is much less nutritious than recent.

Fact: Canned meals are likely to get a nasty rap. However each recent pumpkin and canned pumpkin are full of nutrients—together with potassium, vitamin A, and iron—and appropriate in your pumpkin pie.

“One ought to really feel completely OK about having canned pumpkin,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian nutritionist primarily based in New York Metropolis. “Quite a lot of occasions, greens are canned at peak ripeness,” once they have probably the most nutritional vitamins and vitamins they’ll ever have. Research indicates that along with being nutritious, canned greens are cost-effective and infrequently have a conveniently lengthy shelf-life.

However don’t simply seize the primary can of pumpkin you see: It’s essential to take a look at the labels first, Gans says. Search for a model that’s 100% pure pumpkin and doesn’t include another elements, reminiscent of added sugars.

Fable: Cranberries require a ton of added sugar to style good.

Fact: Cranberries are a Thanksgiving staple—and since they’re tart, they’re often made with copious quantities of sugar in dishes like cobblers or cranberry sauce.

However right here’s some candy information: They don’t must be sugar minefields. “Lots of people don’t know this, however you may eat them uncooked, with out sugar,” Ehsani says. Sure, they’ll style bitter, however think about the well being advantages: Cranberries are full of nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin Okay, and magnesium.

Nonetheless, there’s no have to snack on uncooked cranberries like they’re peanuts. As an alternative, use them as garnishes, tossing them into salads or dropping them into cocktails. That may add a scrumptious, savory twist to your meal, Ehsani says.

You can even merely reduce on the quantity of sugar you employ in your cranberry sauce, and it’ll nonetheless style nice.

Fable: Darkish turkey meat is worse for you than breast meat.

Fact: There’s some fact to the concept chicken is more healthy, Gans says: It incorporates much less saturated fats and energy than darkish meat. Nevertheless, the variations are negligible.

In line with the U.S. Division of Agriculture, 3 ounces of roasted turkey dark meat include 175 energy, 2.49 grams of saturated fats, and 114 mg of ldl cholesterol. Roasted light meat, in the meantime, has 150 energy, 1.36 grams of saturated fats, and 75.6 mg of ldl cholesterol.

Darkish meat truly tops chicken in terms of a number of vitamins: A 3-ounce serving incorporates just a little extra iron, zinc, and selenium. So nutritionally, it’s just about a wash.

“If you happen to desire the darkish meat over the chicken, go for it,” Gans says. “Let’s be sincere—the darkish meat has extra taste.”

Fable: Publish-meal is one of the best time to take a Thanksgiving nap.

Fact: The sofa develops an virtually magnetic pull after you’ve satiated your self with mashed potatoes, doughy pies, and butter-soaked rolls. But it surely’s truly “the worst time” to take a nap, Gans says. Mendacity down may result in digestive points like heartburn and acid reflux—which you’ll higher keep away from by staying upright for 45 to 60 minutes after consuming.

Plus, there are advantages to being energetic post-meal. In line with research published earlier this year, a brief stroll—even simply 2 to five minutes will do—can decrease blood sugar ranges after a meal. “If you happen to’re in a position to transfer just a little, that’s positively most popular,” Ehsani says. “Rise up, possibly clear the dishes, put some meals away, and get just a little energetic,” maybe whisking a eating companion outdoors for a lap across the block.

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