IOnly the turkey on your Thanksgiving table can talk. This bird would like a word on how “exhausted” it is.
The idea that turkey makes us tired has been passed around holiday celebrations for a long time — and it’s not the only myth that gets shared year after year. Is canned pumpkin less nutritious than fresh? Is dipped cranberries in sugar an absolute necessity?
Here, we debunk these and other myths about Thanksgiving food—so you can serve up the facts this year’s feast.
Myth: Turkey makes you tired.
Reality: Turkish meat Contains L-tryptophanwhich is an essential amino acid assists in production Serotonin – often described as the “feel good” hormone – and melatoninWhich promotes sleep. “But you have to eat a lot of turkey—actually about 4 pounds of it—on its own, in one sitting, for it to make you sleepy,” says Roxana Ehsani, a Miami-based registered dietitian.
So why do we feel sleepy after inhaling a The big feast? “You’re probably consuming large amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods — such as mashed or stuffed potatoes, rolls, cornbread, all sweets, and maybe even some alcoholic beverages,” says Ehsani. “All of these things will cause A spike in blood sugar and then a crashwhich will lead to burnout.” Research indicates That carb- and fat-heavy meals—hello, Thanksgiving dinner—lead to sleepiness that usually hits strongest about 60 to 90 minutes after eating.
If you’re hoping to stay active for this soccer game, choose small portions, take breaks, have seconds if you’re still hungry after 20 minutes, and stop eating after you’re full. Turkey, justified.
Myth: Canned pumpkin is less nutritious than fresh.
RealityPackaged foods tend to get a bad rap. But both fresh pumpkin and canned pumpkin Full of nutrients– including potassium, vitamin A and iron – and suitable for pumpkin pie.
“One has to feel completely good about eating canned pumpkin,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian in New York City. “Often, vegetables are canned at the peak of their ripeness,” when they have the most vitamins and nutrients there ever are. Research indicates In addition to being nutritious, canned vegetables are cost-effective and often have a long shelf life.
But don’t just grab the first can of pumpkin you see: It’s important to check labels first, says Gans. Look for a brand of pumpkin that is 100% pure and does not contain any other ingredients, such as added sugars.
Myth: Cranberries require a lot of added sugar in order to taste good.
RealityCranberries are a Thanksgiving staple—and because they’re tart, they’re usually made with copious amounts of sugar in dishes like cobbler or cranberry sauce.
But here’s some good news: It doesn’t have to be a sugar minefield. “Not many people know this, but you can eat them raw, without sugar,” says Ehsani. Yes, they will taste bitter, but keep in mind the health benefits: Cranberries are full of nutrients Such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and magnesium.
However, there is no need to snack on raw cranberries like peanuts. Instead, use them as an appetizer, toss them in salads or put them in cocktails. Ehsani says this can add a savory and savory flavor to your meal.
You can also reduce the amount of sugar you use in your cranberry sauce, and it will still taste great.
Myth: Dark turkey is worse for you than brisket.
RealityThere’s some truth to the idea that white meat is healthier: It has fewer saturated fats and calories than dark meat, says Gans. However, the differences are negligible.
According to the USDA, 3 ounces of roast beef Dark turkey meat It contains 175 calories, 2.49 grams of saturated fat, and 114 mg of cholesterol. Light grilled meatMeanwhile, it contains 150 calories, 1.36 grams of saturated fat, and 75.6 milligrams of cholesterol.
Dark meat beats white meat when it comes to many nutrients: A 3-ounce serving contains more iron, zinc and selenium. So nutritionally speaking, it’s pretty much a wash.
“If you prefer dark meat over white meat, go for it,” says Gans. “Let’s be honest—dark meat has more flavor.”
Myth: Post-meal is the best time to take a Thanksgiving nap.
Reality: The sofa develops an almost magnetic pull after you’ve satiated yourself with mashed potatoes, pancake batter, and butter-soaked rolls. It’s actually the “worst time” to take a nap, says Gans. Lying down can lead to digestive problems such as heartburn acid reflux—which you can best avoid by staying upright for 45 to 60 minutes after eating.
Plus, there are benefits to being active after a meal. according to Research published earlier this yearHowever, taking a short walk — even just 2 to 5 minutes — can lower blood sugar levels after a meal. “If you’re able to move a little bit, this is definitely a favorite,” says Ehsani. “Get up, maybe clean the dishes, put some food away, be a little active,” maybe while eating out for a lap around the block.
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