Thanksgiving Dinner Traditions: Did You Know?

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Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Thanksgiving Dinner Traditions: Did You Know?

Did you know that Thanksgiving was not an official holiday until nearly 250 years after the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, when Abraham Lincoln issued the 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation? Here are some other interesting facts about common “Turkey Day” traditions.

  1. A 3-ounce serving of turkey contains 6 grams of fat. The same serving size without the skin has only 1 gram. Furthermore, opting for white meat instead of dark can trim about 100 calories off your Thanksgiving turkey dinner.
  2. Sweet potatoes are chock-full of fiber as well as vitamins C and E and other antioxidants, particularly beta-carotene. They also have a lower glycemic load than white potatoes.
  3. Cranberries are renowned for their ability to prevent urinary tract infections in susceptible women because of the proanthocyanidins they contain. But these same compounds have also been shown to prevent other infections, and protect the stomach lining from invasion by H. pylori bacteria, which is the leading cause of ulcers.
  4. A small, protein-rich meal early in the day will take the edge off hunger and allow you to make better choices when you gather around the table later.
  5. Turkey contains small amounts of tryptophan. A direct precursor to the “feel-good” neurotransmitter serotonin, this amino acid gives your body the raw materials it needs to enhance mood naturally. Tryptophan also increases production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which is why many folks feel like napping after their Thanksgiving meal.

Now it’s your turn: What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

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