Healthy Thanksgiving Ingredients: Pecans & Cranberries

By Carlene Helble-Thomas

With Thanksgiving only weeks away, what’s your plan to keep yourself from getting stuffed with junk? From marshmallow topped casseroles to alcohol induced family coping, what happened to getting ready to Fall into Health ?

Thanksgiving ingredients are actually some of the healthiest holiday foods, depending on how you prep them. Today let’s focus on pecans and cranberries:


Nuts have a bad rep for being ‘fattening’, but many population studies have shown as nut consumption increased, body fat decreased. Clinical based studies mirrored these results. A Harvard Public Health study found that those following a weight loss diet containing 35% of calories from fat (including pecans as a source), kept weight off longer than people on another recommended lower fat diet.

One ounce (or about one palm full) contains around 200 calories, 3 grams of fiber, but over 19 vitamins and minerals! They are a great source of:
  • B1
  • Thiamin
  • Magnesium
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • and more!
Did we mention they are ranked in the top 20 foods for antioxidant capacity? I keep them stored in my bag when I’m working at the high stress hospital as my  snackable indulgence.


Ah cranberries. To most of us, it’s that red jello stuff that makes an unappetizing sound when it falls out of the can. While I’m clearly not a fan of the processed stuff, I am obsessed with a fresh cranberry relish! Here’s why you should include cranberries on your plate:

Cranberries are full of antimicrobials and antioxidants! The benefits can be seen in the oral cavity, GI tract, and some studies show they can help keep UTI’s at bay by interacting with pathogenic P-fimbriated E. coli. These little red gems also provide cardiovascular benefits by reducing LDL oxidation, and improving HDL levels.  Like pecans, cranberries contain very high levels of antioxidants…the highest capacity of fruit and fruit juices to be precise!

Pecans and cranberries are just two of many power packed Thanksgiving foods. How do you like to munch on these during the holidays?



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