With American Thanksgiving just days away, turkey, potatoes, and pie are all that are on our minds (apart from serious family time and giving thanks, of course). But while the holidays are all about indulgences and #CheatDays, there is a way to make Thanksgiving dinner a healthy meal.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recently revealed that the best way to make your dinner as healthy as can be is to just slow down.
According to the AHA, people who eat slower, take their time to savor bites and generally practice mindful eating, are less likely to become obese and develop metabolic syndrome — which can put you at risk of also developing heart disease, diabetes, and having a stroke.
Japanese researchers even evaluated nearly 1,000 people (both men and women), and found that after five years of research, “faster eating speed was associated with more weight gain, higher blood glucose and larger waistline,” the AHA reported.
“Eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome,” said Takayuki Yamaji, M.D., study author and cardiologist at Hiroshima University in Japan. “When people eat fast they tend not to feel full and are more likely to overeat. Eating fast causes bigger glucose fluctuation, which can lead to insulin resistance.”
In fact, the simple act of slowing down and savoring your Thanksgiving meal — and generally practising more mindful eating — has been found to actually help you eat less, realize when you’re fuller faster, and generally improve your happiness with a meal.
Think about it. Taking a few extra seconds (in chewing time) to really savor each flavor, savory or sweet, can help you pay attention and appreciate the dish. And in turn, slowing down your entire process will alert your body when you’re satiated, helping you realize you’re no longer hungry (though your eyes may be).
And if you want a little lighter Thanksgiving fare to begin with, try these nutritionist-approved holiday treats that won’t ruin your health routine. Along with eating them slower, they could be the key to surviving this holiday with no major gut busters.