Americans sit down on Thanksgiving to a feast that traditionally includes turkey and cranberry sauce. Both happen to be excellent for your health.
Cranberries are a native American fruit that thrive in the wetlands of a handful of northern U.S. states. They have countless uses, according to Nodji Van Wychen of the Wetherby Cranberry Company in Wisconsin, the state that produces most of the cranberries grown in the United States.
"You can make salads with cranberries. You can grind them up and add oranges, apples, whatever other types of fruit, for a relish."
Or crush them for juice. Nadji Van Wychen says cranberries are becoming more popular worldwide.
"We are in Germany, Japan, Mexico... We are entering into France and even venturing into China," she said.
Cranberries are good for you according to Lori Doebritsch, a dietitian at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
"Cranberries are actually very, very good for you. It is a fruit that is high in antioxidants. And antioxidants have very beneficial effects, for not only your heart, [but also] anti-cancer effects, so eating cranberries this time of year is a great way of getting those extra nutrients in your body."
It also turns out that the traditional Thanksgiving turkey has nutritional benefits. It contains tryptophan. Lori Doebritch explains.
“Tryptophan is an amino acid, and it's an essential amino acid, meaning that our bodies do not produce it," she told us.
In order to get tryptophan, we have to eat something that contains it. Ms. Doebritch explained, "In our body, it gives us different things. It produces niacin, a B vitamin, and it produces seratonin, a brain chemical which actually affects your mood and sleep."
While most Americans are not thinking about the nutritional benefits of Thanksgiving dinner, the cranberries and turkey may add to the health and the all-around good mood people have at Thanksgiving.