This holiday staple is a treasure trove of health benefits! Rich in Vitamins C, B6, D, iron and magnesium, it not only stimulates bone, teeth and cell creation, but it also helps reduce stress, keeping colds and flu at bay. This cancer-fighting super food is also rich in potassium, keeping the heart, kidneys and nerves functioning properly. Although a “sweet” potato, its natural sugars are released slowly into the bloodstream, ensuring a balanced flow of energy — great news for diabetics!
Originally thought to originate in Eurasia, the thick, green, cabbage-type collard green is chock full of nutritional benefits! Low in calories and high in dietary fiber, greens are excellent for curbing hemorrhoids, constipation and colon cancer. Rich in vitamins A, B, C and K, they are an effective anti-viral and antibacterial and are proven to reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.
Its high folate content supports DNA synthesis and is shown to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus when consumed during the peri-conception period. Their high mineral content includes manganese, iron, copper, calcium, selenium and zinc, all great for hair, bones, immune system, thyroid function, and then some.
Just one serving of turkey per day gives you 65 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of essential amino acids. This lean meat is a great source of the B vitamins, B1 and B6, which are needed to support your immune and nervous systems and increase energy levels.
Cranberries are primed to be the next new “wonder food.” One of the few fruits containing the highest concentrations of antioxidants, preliminary research suggests it can prevent cancer cells from even forming. Great at increasing HDL (the good cholesterol) and decreasing the LDLs (the bad cholesterol), these tart little berries may be good for more than clearing up vaginal and urinary tract infections (old wives’ tale): a benefit that may also be the impetus behind a new mouthwash containing cranberry. According to the National Health Institute (NIH), the presence of proanthocyanidin prevents unwanted bacteria from sticking to teeth, gums or other internal walls.
Cornbread is an excellent source of fiber. This whole-grain food helps regulate your digestive system and reduces and absorbs cholesterol, transporting it out of your system! Containing niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, phosphorous, iron, potassium and folic acid, Johnnycake is the original “wonder bread”! Use it to make your stuffing, too, thereby doubling your pleasure and the health benefits.
With such a sumptuous variety of foods on the table, you’re already off to a great start! Be careful not to reduce the nutritional value of your meal by over-cooking, over-seasoning, or adding too many “special effects” to your food. Sugar is behind many ailments, including headaches, weight gain, yeast infections, blemished skin, and some cancers. Let the natural sweetness of your sweet potatoes and cranberries shine through!
Go easy on the butter, salt, dairy…and desserts! Prepared with balance and love — in good company — no need to feel guilty as you and your family enjoy a meal that’s delicious and nutritious!
Anika Robbins is a beauty and wellness expert. A cosmetology educator, she is the co-owner of the Robbins Urban Wellness Retreat offering programs on chiropractic, nutrition, massage and beauty. She travels extensively promoting health, beauty and empowerment through her company, Anika International. She welcomes reader responses to 612-670-6355 or via email: [email protected]