How To Stay Glowing Through Thanksgiving and 5 Anti-Aging Foods In The Traditional Meal
Pie for breakfast…
Gravy on everything…
It’s a time for indulgence and we say “Go ahead, indulge!” We’re going to tell you how to do it without compromising your complexion.
Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude above all, but perhaps more than any other holiday, it’s also about hours of preparation for a single fabulous family meal (and days and days of leftovers…). Holiday eating can often leave your face and eyes puffy and you may develop a pimple or two even if you’re not usually prone to acne simply due to the inflammatory effects of many festive foods. Your skin may also appear dehydrated and lackluster due to the depleting nature of decadent food, desserts, and wine.
If you want to enjoy the festivities while also minimizing the amount of damage control to do for your skin in the days after, we have some tips that will help keep you looking radiant and feeling energized. In fact, you can even find some amazing anti-aging nutrients right in those classic Thanksgiving dishes that you’ll be preparing. So let’s start with the good stuff!
5 Anti-Aging Foods In Your Thanksgiving Meal
Besides being a wonderful source of protein that gives your body the amino acid building blocks it needs for strength and repair, turkey also contains an array of energizing B vitamins, especially B3, also known as niacin. Niacin converts to niacinamide in the body and this vitamin can help to rev up your skin’s cellular function as well as help cells retain moisture. In this way, niacin can contribute to a reduction in fine lines and an increase in skin’s elasticity and springiness. So carve away, this centerpiece to the Thanksgiving meal is also a healthful choice for your skin and overall health. In fact, Kate Ryan Skincare features niacinamide in several of our products because we’re so impressed by its anti-aging power. Find products containing niacinamide here.
2.) Green Beans
Perhaps not everyone’s favorite dish of the day as a child, we can certainly admit as adults that green beans are one of the best beauty boosters in your Thanksgiving meal. This legume is an excellent source of fiber, which is a handy pairing in a heavy meal. A bit of fiber is important for digestive health and this alone can keep skin clearer and healthier, but it also plays a role in helping you to remove water-soluble toxins from the body. This is critical for keeping skin radiant and glowing. Green beans are also rich in carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and lycopene, all of which act as antioxidants to protect our skin from the aging effects of oxidative stress.
Thanksgiving might be the only time of year that a bowl of cranberries makes its way onto the table as an essential element of a meal. These tart little ruby red jewels pack a serious punch of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients called anthocyanins and flavonoids. Controlling inflammation in the body and the skin is one of the most important strategies in preventing premature signs of aging.
Cranberries are also an excellent source of collagen-protective vitamin C. Keep in mind though, cooking the cranberries to a palatable point does significantly diminish their level of vitamin C since it’s so sensitive to heat. Nonetheless, even trace amounts of vitamin C in combination with the anthocyanins that give cranberries their beautiful red color amount to powerful protection of collagen and elastin in our skin to keep it firmer and more resilient. We suggest a homemade cranberry sauce using less sugar since the canned jellies you’ll find at the market won’t carry the same beauty benefits.
4.) Pumpkin Pie
Yes, you read that correctly. Even your pie has its saving graces. Your typical pumpkin pie has plenty of sugar in it, but it’s not all bad. You can’t make a pumpkin pie without lots of cinnamon and studies have indicated that cinnamon may have the ability to control blood sugar spikes and regulate insulin thereby keeping inflammation under control as well. This might just keep all that sugar from causing a higher degree of inflammation-induced wrinkles or breakouts. More than just adding the perfect flavor to your pumpkin pie, pie spices like cinnamon provide major antioxidant protection. And let’s not forget that pumpkin itself is a nice source of beta-carotene which fights free radicals and can be converted by the body to anti-aging vitamin A.
5.) Sweet Potato
Speaking of vitamin A, sweet potatoes are one of the plant world’s best sources of provitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. The abundance of this carotenoid and other antioxidants along with the soluble fiber of sweet potatoes allows for their natural sugars to be absorbed at a rate that minimizes spikes in blood sugar. Between your sweet potatoes and your pumpkin pie, you’re getting a hefty dose of provitamin A that can keep your skin plump and glowing when these foods are prepared without excessive amounts of sugar.
A Cornucopia of Caveats
If you really want to experience the beauty benefits of the nutrients these foods are packed with, you can optimize your Thanksgiving meal with the tips below.
If you’re preparing the meal yourself, you have a bit more control over how the dishes are made and can choose to adapt them as much or as little as you want. Look to whole-food and paleo recipes for healthier variations on traditional dishes and cleaner takes on the classics. Opt for fresh, organic ingredients if or when possible to maximize nutrient density and minimize processed ingredients.
Start The Day Strong
Holidays can be hectic and it’s easy to spend the day snacking on whatever might be at hand when you’re gearing up for a gathering like Thanksgiving dinner. It can make a huge difference to start the day with a healthy, stabilizing breakfast. Try beginning your morning with a cup of warm water with lemon and a breakfast rich in protein and antioxidants to hold you over and prevent spikes and declines in blood sugar throughout the day. A smoothie of unsweetened yogurt and fresh fruit, steel-cut oatmeal and berries, or a veggie omelet with a cup of tea are all great options. If you’re not feeling depleted prior to your big meal, you’re less likely to dive head first into the bread basket when it’s time to plate.
Plating It Safe
If you are opting for moderation, try loading up your plate with the whole-food options first like turkey, fresh salads, green beans, and some sweet potato. Then in the remaining room you have left on your plate, optionally add a couple bites each of your more indulgent favorites like stuffing, bread, and mashed potatoes. This way you’re tasting everything you want to while filling up on the healthiest options.
Skimp On Sweets and Starches
In a holiday meal it’s often the excess sugar and the refined carbohydrates that wreak the most havoc on our bodies and skin. So, if your sweet potatoes are hiding under a blanket of marshmallow and your green beans are buried below canned fried onions as you’ll find in many recipes for these dishes, you may want to leave those toppings in the serving tray and just spoon the veggies onto your plate instead. And as mentioned above, if you keep the stuffing and breads to a couple of small bites or leave them off your plate altogether, you’ll notice that your retain more energy after your meal and feel better the day after too.
Spice Up Your Evening
Whether you completely indulge this Thanksgiving or choose to moderate your meal to optimize nutrition, following your dinner with a spiced hot tea can be really helpful to your digestion and your skin will thank you for it! Cinnamon and ginger are excellent digestive spices that can control blood sugar as mentioned and can improve your body’s ability to process a heavy meal by stimulating the liver to secrete digestive bile. You can usually find a spiced tea at most grocery stores, or you can add ground cinnamon and a dash of ginger to any herbal tea you have at home. These spices fit right into the holiday’s festive flavor profiles so a warming digestive tea featuring cinnamon, ginger, clove, etc. still feels like a perfect seasonal treat even without added sweetener.
Do you have a holiday meal strategy or is this the time of year that you just go for it? Let us know your usual plan of action or whether you follow any of the tips above in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you!