Thanksgiving Foods for Brain Health to Include in Your Holiday Menu (Plus Recipes!) by Dr. Teralyn Sell

2 years ago

Thanksgiving Foods for Brain Health to Include in Your Holiday Menu (Plus Recipes!)

Thanksgiving foods. What a glorious thought as we roll through November! While we may be looking forward to the mass amounts of comfort foods (and the nap that always follows), we must first ask ourselves how those foods are contributing to our overall health. Incorporating foods that promote heart and gut health is a popular option during the holidays. But did you know that many thanksgiving favorites actually support brain health?

Here are a few foods to add to your holiday menu that can help boost brain health and keep your Thanksgiving meal undeniably delicious:

1. Turkey

Turkey has long been a forerunner in the brain health game. Turkey is a good source of zinc, which is an essential mineral for learning and memory. It’s a great protein source that helps to regulate blood sugar, which is central to brain health. Turkey is a great choice to improve tryptophan (an amino acid for brain function), which is a precursor to serotonin (the happy chemical) and then melatonin to help you sleep.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are great for brain health! They are rich in vitamins B6, folate, vitamin A, fiber and niacin, which are nutrient cofactors or precursors to your neurotransmitters (mood chemicals). Sweet potatoes are also antioxidants (preventing or slowing the damage to cells caused by free radicals), which are great for your immune function. Though they are a sweet treat, because they are rich in fiber they actually help to control blood sugar which is central to brain health.

3. Cranberries

Cranberries are known to be neuroprotective (protecting nerve cells against damage). Polyphenols (micronutrients) in cranberries have been found to ultimately protect the gut microbiota, and provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions throughout the brain and body. Gut health and inflammation have been linked to mood disorders and brain health making cranberries a great choice at the holiday table. 

The content on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Elisa Schmitz
Oh, these are some of my faves on the Thanksgiving menu, lucky me! Great tips, and amazing recipes. It will be a very different Thanksgiving this year, but we will make the most of it. Thank you for the great info and ideas!

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