There are many conditions that can require an anti-inflammatory diet. And whether you’re dealing with an issue with your immune system, you’re concerned about your heart health, or you have diabetes, there are a lot of benefits to choosing anti-inflammatory Thanksgiving foods.
What Do Anti-Inflammatory Foods Do?
To understand the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s important to first understand your immune system. When something invades your body, like pollen or a virus, your immune system attacks it. Inflammation is a common result, which can result in temporary swelling.
In the short term, this is not a problem. But if your immune system always feels like it’s under attack, this can lead to serious problems. In fact, chronic inflammation has been associated with many adverse health effects, including cancer and Alzheimer’s. In this way, choosing anti-inflammatory Thanksgiving foods can improve your health while still letting you enjoy quality time with the people you love.
Anti-Inflammatory Thanksgiving Foods
So, what anti-inflammatory foods should you choose for turkey day? The good news is that there are a lot of options, so you can still enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving foods while staying healthy.
Yes, You Can Still Eat Turkey
The big question: Can I work turkey into my anti-inflammatory Thanksgiving meal? Yes! While red meat can cause inflammation, lean white meats like turkey are generally safe and healthy.
That said, try to stay away from fried turkey, since it often contains a lot of saturated fats. Instead, baked turkeys can give you the taste of that iconic Thanksgiving bird while keeping you healthy.
Choose Potatoes Wisely
Potatoes are a cornerstone of most Thanksgiving dinners. And the good news is that you can choose anti-inflammatory Thanksgiving foods while still chowing down on spuds; you might just need to make a few alterations.
This year, skip the white mashed potatoes loaded with cream and butter. Instead, opting for roasted red potatoes or preparing sweet potatoes can give you a great meal without upsetting your immune system. As a bonus, you’ll probably feel better after dinner without all that butter and cream weighing you down!
Reconsider the Pumpkin Pie
The taste of pumpkin is a staple of most Thanksgiving dinners, but try to avoid a pie this year. Instead, preparing a pumpkin pudding can give you that same fall taste without the flour crust and butter of a pie.
Take Your Salad to the Next Level
Salads are generally a good choice for anti-inflammatory diets, but there are some small alterations you can make to really create an anti-inflammatory Thanksgiving dinner.
First, ditch the iceberg lettuce for a darker leafy green like spinach or kale. Iceberg lettuce isn’t bad for you, but it’s mostly water, whereas spinach and kale are anti-inflammatory and contain lots of nutrients to make for a much healthier Thanksgiving.
And while you’re picking up ingredients for anti-inflammatory Thanksgiving foods, skip the cream-based dressings like ranch and opt for a healthier vinaigrette. If you’re sensitive to inflammation, a vinaigrette will be much less offensive to your immune system.
Let the Rolls Roll
Rolls are expected at most Thanksgiving dinners, and you can still keep them in your anti-inflammatory diet plans. Just make sure they’re made with whole wheat instead of white bread, which is full of sugars and fats.
And if you can, try to skip the butter. But don’t worry, you don’t have to eat your rolls plain! You could try adding mashed bananas to them, or even avocadoes. Fruits and vegetables are great for anti-inflammation, and there are plenty of options that can still give you a Thanksgiving roll worth looking forward to!
Work in the Veggies
While you don’t need to make vegetables the center of your meal, more vegetables means a better anti-inflammatory Thanksgiving. And there are plenty of options that will let you stay in the holiday spirit!
Instead of a baked bean casserole, try serving roasted baked beans instead. This plan also works for broccoli, brussel sprouts, and really any of your favorite fall vegetables. When it comes to anti-inflammatory Thanksgiving foods, vegetables are generally a safe bet!
Stuff Up on Stuffing
Stuffing can fit into the category of anti-inflammatory Thanksgiving foods if you make a few alterations. If your stuffing usually has white bread and a red meat like sausage or bacon, try swapping that for a stuffing made of cauliflower with mushrooms. Alternatives like this can be just as tasty, and your body will thank you for making a healthy decision!
Celebrate Thanksgiving Your Way
At the end of the day, Thanksgiving isn’t about the food you eat. It’s about coming together to spend time with the people you care about. So don’t worry if you want to deviate a bit from tradition. Pick out the anti-inflammatory Thanksgiving foods that you love and make the most of the time with your loved ones!
What Anti-Inflammatory Thanksgiving Foods Are You Eating this Year?
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