Updated: 2/7/2020 We recently conducted a poll asking you about your favorite holiday foods. What holiday food can you not live without? What sweet treat is on your must-have list…

Family enjoying holiday turkey dinner

Favorite Holiday Foods and Their Effects on Health

Updated: 2/7/2020

We recently conducted a poll asking you about your favorite holiday foods. What holiday food can you not live without? What sweet treat is on your must-have list during the holiday season? The results are in, and they’re surprisingly healthy choices.

Favorite Holiday Dish

According to our survey, 38% of our members said that turkey is the holiday dish they cannot live without. Turkey, though commonly associated with Thanksgiving and overeating, actually has many health benefits that most people are unaware of.

1. Turkey is rich in vitamin B. Turkey is a great source of vitamin B3 and B6. These vitamins are part of the complex B vitamins, and are essential for healthy eyes, hair, liver and skin, as well as helping the nervous system function properly. The B3 vitamin, also called niacin, specifically helps make hormones in the adrenal gland and improves circulation. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in metabolism and the release of glucose from glycogen. One serving of turkey contains about 36% of the daily recommendation for B3, and 27% for B6.

2. Turkey protects against cancer. Turkey contains an element that plays a role in the antioxidant defense system called selenium.  Selenium also helps with thyroid and immune system function, which helps to eliminate cancer-friendly radicals from the body. In addition, turkey also contains some minerals thought to help prevent cancer.

3. Turkey contains just the right amount of saturated fat. Saturated fat is beneficial, as it’s essential for hormone production, protection of organs and energy. However, consuming too much saturated fat will start having negative effects on your health. One serving of turkey contains less than 12% of the daily recommended serving, so you can enjoy your turkey without worrying about over doing it.

4. Turkey is high in protein. Protein aids in growth, muscle development and antibody production, and is therefore essential to living. One serving of turkey provides about 65% of the daily recommended intake of protein, making it a great source of the nutrient.

Favorite Holiday Dessert

Pumpkin pie is a popular dessert during this time of year – and it’s also a favorite of 1Dental fans. According to the results of our survey, 44% of our members would rather have pumpkin pie during the holidays than any other dessert. While you wouldn’t normally expect a dessert to have health benefits, pumpkin pie filling is actually loaded with lots of nutrients. The main nutrients found in pumpkin pie are fiber and vitamin A.

Fiber is necessary for a healthy heart, and it aids in the digestion process. The recommended daily amount of fiber is about 44 grams, and half a cup of pie filling can contain up to 25% of that. Pumpkin pie is also loaded with vitamin A, as one slice actually exceeds the recommended daily amount. Vitamin A strengthens eyesight and the immune system, and produces red blood cells.

Other nutrients found in pumpkin pie include:

  • Potassium: Potassium is an electrolyte that helps regulate heartbeat and nerve signals, reduces swelling, protects the kidney, and relaxes contracting muscles.
  • Carotenoids: Commonly found in orange foods (such as sweet potatoes and carrots), these antioxidants strengthen eyesight, prevent aging, fight off cancer and boost immunity.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is known for boosting the immune system and assisting in digestion and the formation of teeth and blood cells. Vitamin C also produces collagen, which helps keep the skin elastic.
  • Iron: Iron is essential for creating energy, producing red and white blood cells and metabolizing protein.

Though pumpkin pie can be very rich in nutrients, it also contains a lot of added sugar and fat, as well. Don’t use this as an excuse to eat more pie – doing so will negate the benefits.

The real danger of holiday feasting is not actually the food itself, but rather eating too much. Overeating can cause weight gain, heart problems and other major health issues. As we continue into the holiday season, be careful about overindulging, and watch your portions. Doing so will help ensure that you have the healthiest holiday season you can.

  1. Thank you for absolving me of my guilt for my holiday food choices this season! =) In all honesty, I think moderation is the key to health in holiday meals. A little bit of something fattening can’t be too bad for you, but binge eating definitely has its health drawbacks.

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