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Share These 4 Healthy Thanksgiving Foods

Share These 4 Healthy Thanksgiving Foods (1)

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November is a great month for those of us who love birds! Why do I say that? Because we celebrate a very special bird at the end of the month. The Native Americans know it as the earth eagle — others know it as the wild turkey! The wild turkey has a long history of association with spirituality and the honoring of the Earth Mother. It is a symbol of all the blessings that the Earth contains. It is truly an American bird that provides us sustenance and allows us a time to reflect and give thanks.

1. Pumpkin: A Superfood for Birds

Pumpkin refers to certain cultivars of squash, most commonly those of Cucurbita pepo. Pumpkins, like other squash, are native to North America. Pumpkin pie, for instance, is a traditional part of Thanksgiving meals. And it can be part of our bird’s meal, too.

Nutrient-Rich Flesh

Research indicates that phytochemicals found in pumpkin may favorably affect insulin and glucose levels in laboratory diabetes models. The flesh of the pumpkin is an excellent source of many natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds such as A, ß carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Vitamin A for Healthy Tissues

Carotenes are converted into vitamin A, important for the health of the epithelial tissues and the eye. Epithelial tissues that need a constant source of vitamin A include the lining of the respiratory tract, the intestinal tract, oviduct, and the tubes that make up the kidney’s filtration system. Vitamin A is needed to allow the cells to differentiate properly — an important requirement of healthy tissues.

Immune Health with Pumpkin-Seed Oil

Pumpkin-seed oil is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that support immune health along with heart health!

Eye Protection

Zeaxanthin, a natural antioxidant, is found in pumpkin. This antioxidant is able to filter UV (ultra-violet) rays and is important in the protection of the macula lutea in the retina of the eyes.

Loaded with Vitamins and Minerals

Pumpkin is also a good source of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid. Pumpkin is also a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.

2. Pecans: A Nutty Delight

Pecans have a delicious nutty flavor, but are technically a fruit called a drupe. The raw pecans inside the husk are dried, yielding a tasty source of energy that is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and phenolic antioxidants. Pecans are also high in vitamin E, several B-complex vitamins and minerals, including potassium, selenium, manganese, calcium, and iron.

3. Sweet Potatoes: Nature’s Multivitamin

Sweet potatoes contain 65 percent of the minimum necessary daily amount of vitamin C for humans. Sweet potatoes are also high in calcium, folate, potassium, and beta-carotene with as much as 700 percent of the US RDA for vitamin A.

Low Glycemic Index

While they are sweet to the taste, they have a low glycemic index, making them much better than offering regular potatoes for your feathered friends! Research has shown that extracts from sweet potatoes can significantly increase blood levels of adiponectin. Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced by our fat cells, and it serves as an important modifier of insulin metabolism.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Anthocyanin and other color-related pigments in sweet potato are equally valuable for their anti-inflammatory health benefits. In animal studies, reduced inflammation following sweet potato consumption has been shown in brain tissue and nerve tissue throughout the body. So feeding them at other times of the year can aid in maintaining health.

4. Green Beans: A Nutrient Powerhouse

Green beans, while not technically a fall vegetable, often grace our Thanksgiving tables. Green beans also offer a powerhouse of nutrition. Green beans contain excellent levels of vitamin A and the flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and ß-carotene!

After indulging your birds with these nutritious Thanksgiving foods, remember that sharing is caring. Ensure you offer these foods in moderation and as part of a balanced diet for your feathered friends. This Thanksgiving, let’s show our gratitude to the Earth and the birds it provides for us.

Conclusion

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, consider sharing the blessings of the season with your avian companions. These four healthy Thanksgiving foods are not only delicious but also offer a plethora of health benefits for our feathered friends. As you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast, don’t forget to share the love with the wild birds in your area. They’ll be thankful too!

FAQs

  1. Can I feed these Thanksgiving foods to all types of birds? Yes, these foods are generally safe for a wide variety of birds, but always do your research to ensure they are suitable for your local bird species.
  2. How should I prepare and serve these foods to birds? You can offer them fresh or cooked, but avoid seasonings and additives. Raw or lightly cooked is usually the best way.
  3. Are there any Thanksgiving foods that are harmful to birds? Yes, some Thanksgiving foods, like those containing alcohol, chocolate, or excessive salt, can be harmful and should be avoided.
  4. What’s the best way to attract birds to my yard on Thanksgiving? Providing bird feeders, clean water sources, and these nutritious foods can help attract a variety of birds to your yard.
  5. Are there any specific birds that particularly enjoy these foods? While many bird species will appreciate these offerings, species like turkeys, woodpeckers, and finches may be particularly drawn to them.
mahatma gandhi portrait

- Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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