Well Being

Guilt-Free Thanksgiving: 5 Healthy Reasons We’re Happy to Indulge This Turkey-Day

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On most Thanksgivings, we start feeling guilty about all the food we've stuffed down our gullets around that time when extreme nausea kicks in and we officially can't sit comfortably in non-spandex clothing anymore. But unless you're making the worst of the worst Thanksgiving dishes, your dinner will probably contain a slew of essential nutrients and vitamins. (Even if they do come with a larger-than-normal calorie count.) So this year, instead of beating ourselves up over the fat, sugar, and calories we've consumed at the table, we're going to enjoy our nausea, dammit! We'll just think of our gluttony as a restorative shot of much-needed nutrients to help us get through the holiday season. (Because really: How often do you get homemade turkey and brussels sprouts?)

Here are our favorite reasons to feel thankful, not guilty, for your holiday indulgence:

Beta Carotene — Your bright orange sweet potatoes are one of the best natural sources of beta carotene, a compound that your body converts to vitamin A that's especially good for your eyes, circulation and has anti-aging benefits.

Monounsaturated Fats — If you love to enjoy your Turkey skin-on, rejoice: It does add calories and fat, but the skin contains more good fats than bad, so you can rest easy that your arteries will survive the ultimate Thanksgiving indulgence.

Proanthocyanidins (PACs) — Cranberry sauce adds some tang to your turkey, but it also gives you a dose of heart- and stomach-healthy PACs, which are known for fighting bacteria and helping prevent breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancers.

Resveratrol — Getting a little tipsy at dinner is a favored method of dealing with difficult relatives, but it's wine that you're guzzling, you're also giving yourself a dose of cancer prevention and anti-aging benefits. Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the skin of red grapes, has great anti-aging and heart-healthy benefits, so bottoms up (well, not too much: studies indicate that only small amounts of wine are necessary for the benefits).

Vitamin B — Poultry is a great source of this essential vitamin, which is necessary for healthy brain and nervous system function. So after you wake up from your tryptophan-induced haze (and finish digesting your behemoth meal), you'll be quicker on your feet than when you started.

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