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Here's to Your Health: Thanksgiving Edition

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Photo by LarimdaME | Flickr

Here's to Your Health is a deeper look into the health issues of the day. Recently, we've looked at the Power Plate and declawing. Today, we explore the wonders of Thanksgiving...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I know I, for one, am anxiously awaiting a heaping plate of crap that I've been told by innumerable women's magazines will make me fat, clog my arteries and possibly cause my premature death. Well, I'd like for that line of thinking to end here. To help you enjoy your 5,000-calorie-plus meal, here is a list of nutritional benefits found in traditional Thanksgiving fare.

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Turkey: Loaded with protein, this main dish fills you up without weighing you down. Turkey is also a great source of folic acid -- key for cell rejuvenation -- and vitamin B. However, since it's heavy with tryptophan, the old adage is true: don't turkey and drive.

Stuffing: Your basic stuffing generally contains celery and onion. Both are used in traditional medicine to relieve coughs and colds, which may be the reason stuffing tastes so darn good in the cold weather. Onions are also heavy in sulfides, and celery is loaded with vitamin C, both of which help guard against cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

Mashed Potatoes: Rich in complex carbohydrates and with a hefty dose of fiber, potatoes provide energy and move things along down there, of you catch my drift. Potatoes are also an excellent source of potassium, which is key for cell health as well as the health of your nervous system.

Cranberry Sauce: Cranberries have tons of antioxidents, and are well known for their aid in reducing or relieving UTI's. A lesser known benefit of the little guys is plaque reduction -- it's thought that by preventing bactieria from clinging to the tooth they can reduce plaque's buildup.

Pumpkin Pie: I know what you're thinking: Oh, that's a stretch. But hold your judgment for another day, please. While the butter and sugar may not be ideal for a healthy diet, pumpkin pie filling is a good source of fiber and a great source of vitamin A, which helps protect eyesight and the immune system.

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And on that note, I'd like to take this opportunity to be thankful for what is about to be not just a delicious meal, but one that is chock full of oft-underappreciated health benefits. Bon appetit.