Thanksgiving Rock Stars

If you’re like most people in this country, you’re starting to think about certain foods that don’t cross your mind until, well, right about now. These seasonal foods are often reserved for special dinners, but that doesn’t have to be the case. For example, cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving dinner staple, but do you ever prepare it outside of this holiday?

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without pumpkin pie, but have you ever considered adding a pumpkin soup or salad to your weeknight meals?

Our Thanksgiving dinners are packed with nutritional rock stars, so why not have these foods more often? Studies show that there’s good reason to do just that. Here is a closer look at some potential health benefits:

Cranberry – A June 2012 Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology study found that adding cranberry flavonoids to a preventative regimen helped protect the liver from a known toxin. Cranberry also contains powerful antioxidants including vitamin C and glutathione.

How to get more: Drink unsweetened cranberry juice, toss some dried cranberries into your salads or serve cranberry sauce (or chutney) alongside chicken or duck.

Pumpkin – A 2010 Archives of Internal Medicine study found that those with high blood levels of alpha-carotene had a reduced risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Guess what food is rich in alpha-carotene? If you said pumpkin, you’d be right! Pumpkin is also rich beta-carotene, vitamin A and fiber.

How to get more: Consider making pumpkin soup or sautéing pumpkin cubes and adding them to salads and stir fries.

Rosemary – 2012 research published in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology suggests that one of the main chemicals in rosemary oil may be linked to enhanced brain performance. This herb is also a good source of vitamin A, Thiamin and Magnesium.

How to get more: Use rosemary to dress up more than just turkey and stuffing. Try adding a pinch of rosemary to any recipe that includes oregano.

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