Guilt-Free Grub: Thanksgiving Foods Your Skin Will Be Thankful For
This Thanksgiving, get your grub on without any regrets. Read on to see how you can give your diet a break and actually feel good about it with these complexion-saving Thanksgiving foods. Your skin thanks you.
I promise myself before every holiday fête that I’m not going to go crazy on the candied yams, only to find myself trying to resist the urge to heap a third serving of marshmallow-y goodness onto my plate. Then I figure tomorrow is never guaranteed and just go for it. Fast forward to tomorrow, and I’m bloated with regret and plans to make the treadmill my new best friend.
But must it be this way every. Single. Year?
Thankfully, no. All it takes is a little shift in perspective to help you eat what you want without (as much) guilt. How?
Consider this: Some of the ingredients that make up most of the popular holiday dishes are actually beneficial for your skin.
Before you scroll down to the yummy list, I should mention the obvious. These complexion-enhancing edibles tend to be prepared in calorie-heavy ways when the holidays roll around — smothered in heavy cream, greased up in drippings. It just wouldn’t be the same any other way, IMO. You can be good by cooking skinny versions of these meals (very possible) if you’re the host or by opting for nibble-size portions (very difficult) if you’re a guest.
What’s a Thanksgiving meal without the bird? Not only is turkey a low fat source of protein, but its dark meat boasts anti-aging properties with twice as much riboflavin and zinc than the white meat. These elements are key for collagen production, which means less premature aging and more youthful skin. Now that’s all the motivation I need to help myself to the coveted leg!
Yams & Sweet Potatoes
Mmmm! Nothing beats the aroma of sweet potatoes fresh outta the oven. Wait, or is it yams? These two starchy veggies are used interchangeably in Thanksgiving recipes. Their nutritional value varies, but both are super healthy and great for your skin. Sweet potatoes are especially rich in vitamin A, which keeps skin clear of acne and pumps up collagen production as well. They’re also packed with potassium — one cup takes care of 20% of the daily value — which helps skin retain moisture and prevent dryness.
Not to be pushed aside, yams possess a powerful dose of vitamin B6 and carotene, critical for fighting wrinkles, fine lines, and dark circles. Both healthy sweets are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants that reverse free radical damage and can keep skin in a more youthful condition.
Am I the only one who refuses to eat turkey without cranberry sauce on the side? These tart treats are not only the perfect pairing with the more savory elements on your plate, but they’re also your secret weapon against post-holiday acne. Phytochemicals found in cranberries boast strong anti-inflammatory properties that curb pimples and cystic acne. They’re also rich in ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, an antioxidant that fends against free radicals, helps boost collagen, and improves skin’s powers to heal itself and rejuvenate. Cranberry juice also contains these benefits, if that suits your palate more.
Be good and leave some room for your greens because it turns out brussel sprouts are amazing for your skin. Not only are these cruciferous veggies super high in protein, they hydrate skin and help regenerate new healthy skin cells. The revamped rejuvenation helps repair pigmentation problems like age spots and discoloration. Brussel sprouts are also rich in vitamin C that enhances collagen production, so a consistent serving can help prevent sagging skin and wrinkles over time. Plus, these fiber-filled greens improves digestion, the key to a clear complexion and a great way to detox from all the holiday treats.
Red, red wine, goes to my head — OK, so this makes us really happy. Flowing with antioxidants such as flavonoid and resveratrol extracted from polyphenols of grape seeds, red wine not only ages gracefully itself, but it’ll help your skin age gracefully, too. Red wine improves collagen synthesis and skin’s elasticity, helping to prevent signs of aging like sagging skin, wrinkles, and fine lines. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, red wine also can help clear up pores and target acne, leaving your skin glowing.
Pumpkin pie with a dollop of Cool Whip has got to be the bane of my holiday diet. But this year, I’ll succumb to the caloric intake for the sake of my aging skin. The yummy orange flesh of pumpkins is packed with zinc, copper, and carotenoids that aid your skin in the anti-aging fight against free radical damage from environmental pollutants and UV light. Pumpkin is an awesome source of vitamin C as well, which helps with collagen and elastin production. That means brighter skin tone, fewer wrinkles, and even a defense system against skin cancer. I mean, you don’t have to tell me twice. Seconds, please!
Walnuts deserve an award for the best supporting role in your epic holiday feast. They’re the behind-the-scenes ingredient in your favorite holiday treats, from the crust in pies to the topping on candied yams. They also nourish you with healthy omega-3 fats that fortify your skin’s natural barrier to seal in moisture and keep out toxins that can dry or inflame skin. They even shield skin against the sun’s UV rays.
Could this be the secret to Koreans’ flawless complexions? Persimmons are in nearly every Korean family’s household come fall, and they’re often part of the dessert menu after a hearty Thanksgiving meal. Packed with vitamins that combat free radicals — vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene — these seasonal fruits prevent wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of premature aging. If you’re the host, save the peels and use them as a face mask to wind down after your guests leave.
Ready to be more thankful and less worried about your Thanksgiving meal? Cue the feel-good festivities and merry music. Buh-bye, post-grub guilt! What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods or holiday dish that’s good for your skin?