An inflammation-free Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

Inflammation can be the cause of arthritis and joint pain, as well as migraines and fatigue

If you're looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner, but worried about the inflammation that could result, you’re not alone.

According to Beaumont dietitian Silvia Veri, “Choosing foods that are part of the anti-inflammatory diet is designed to prevent or reduce low-grade chronic inflammation, a key risk factor in a host of health problems and several major diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and joint pain.”

Under normal circumstances, short periods of inflammation can be good for the body and help the body heal, but when inflammation is constant, it can lead to various chronic diseases.

On Thanksgiving there are identifiable culprits that can cause inflammation. Those include:

  • pop/sugar-sweetened beverages
  • fried foods
  • red meat
  • processed meat (adding bacon or sausage to a stuffing)
  • processed baked goods (pie, cookies, cake)
  • refined carbohydrates (white rolls, white bread added to stuffing)
  • sugar (added to cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole)

Veri offers some suggestions for easy ingredient swaps to help you enjoy your meals worry-free:

  • Instead of canned cranberry sauce loaded with sugar, make a fresh cranberry relish. [Recipe and Nutrition Analysis]
  • Instead of green bean casserole, make steamed, sautéed or roasted green beans. [Recipe and Nutrition Analysis]
  • Instead of white mashed potatoes with cream and butter, make roasted red skin potatoes or sweet potatoes. [Recipe and Nutrition Analysis]
  • Instead of stuffing made with white bread and sausage/bacon, make a cauliflower stuffing. [Recipe and Nutrition Analysis]
  • Instead of pumpkin pie, make a pumpkin pudding so that you are missing out on the white flour and butter crust.
  • Instead of salads made with iceberg lettuce and cream-based dressing, make salads with dark greens and vinaigrette dressings. [Recipe and Nutrition Analysis]
  • Instead of sweetened, high calorie beverages, serve fruit infused waters.
  • Instead of chips, serve unsalted nuts.

“A baked turkey is preferable to fried, whole grain rolls over white rolls and offering several vegetable side dishes, such as Brussels sprouts, are great, healthier options,” Veri adds.

As Veri’s suggestions indicate, there are specific foods that can help reduce inflammation, such as leafy greens and whole grains.

The typical anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. These foods contain antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to reduce inflammation.

view all stories

Looking for a primary care physician?

Search Now