How Your Skin Reacts to Traditional Thanksgiving Food

The holiday season works against ideal skin health and these may be the reason why: sudden drops in temperature, hot coffee, reaching for red wine over water, and indulging in social gatherings with friends and family.

Traditional holiday meal includes: turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing and pumpkin pie. We aren’t saying to refrain from the mentioned above (we simply know these dishes are irresistible) but having more knowledge is power. Let’s take a glimpse of how the beloved holiday meal affects your skin.

We’ve curated three experts thoughts on all the positive stuff that goes from your Thanksgiving plate, to your skin: Alli Marks is the founder of Allison Marks Skin Care, Tina Anderson, CEO of Thrive Probiotic, and Anna Mitsios, a nutritionist and founder of of Edible Beauty Australia.


Most people know that turkey is loaded with L-tryptophan, the essential amino acid that we all love to blame for your post-meal sleepiness. Turkey is also rich in zinc, and is one of the best things you can consume for your skin.

“Turkey has a high concentration of zinc which is great for maintaining collagen and elastin fibers, both which help keep skin supple and firm”, Anderson says.

“Turkey is rich in protein, which provides structure to hair, nails, and teeth, and forms collagen, providing firmness and suppleness to your skin”, Mitsios explains.


By itself, stuffing isn’t the best for your skin. Traditional stuffing has savory ingredients like bread, bacon, salt, and sugar which may lead to inflammation.

Nevertheless, since stuffing is amongst the coveted dishes to a Thanksgiving meal – and also because this is the only opportunity we get to eat it – looking for redeeming qualities was pivotal. Huffington Post says, including walnuts in your stuffing instead will ensure you are doing something good for your skin.

Sweet Potatoes

Marshmallows and brown sugar both can’t contribute much nutritionally for your skin, but sweet potatoes are, at their core, a mainstay of skin nutrition.

They are filled with vitamin A, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C, and not to mention tons of minerals that can make your skin glow.

Green Beans

Green beans are among the top beauty vegetables, especially if they are organic. Rich in antioxidants and an excellent source of vitamin C, A, K and manganese. Manganese is an essential mineral that helps build collagen and protect the skin from free radicals.”

Mac & Cheese

Unfortunately the cheese enthusiast will be sadden upon this news – numerous studies have shown that large amounts of dairy consumption can contribute to skin breakouts. Dermatologists suggest cutting dairy out to improve skin health.

Dishes that include mac and cheese can lead to increased levels of inflammation, skin breakdown, aging and acne in many individuals” Mitosios says. However, consuming milk does have its benefits: it helps you reach the daily recommended dose of calcium.

For holiday indulgence, ingest proper calcium intake and feel eat to eat as much mac and cheese as your heart desires.

Cranberry Sauce

Countering rich, salty foods with a lightly sweetened tart cranberry sauce is what Thanksgiving is all about. The benefits that come with this sauce will have you scooping for more.

The vitamin C in cranberry sauce helps hold together the cells that make up your skin, hair, and teeth. Mitosios says that cranberries are a natural bacteria blocker and contains reservatrol, which helps fight acne from within.

A less sugary option to to consuming these tart treats is to sprinkle organic dried cranberries into your desired dish such as salad or make your own sauce.

Pumpkin Pie

Pie – pumpkin that is, is the best way to end any Thanksgiving meal. Sugar is indeed in this dessert, which leads to inflammation, but it has plenty of good as well.

The orange color of pumpkins come from plant pigments called, carotenoids. They help neutralize free radical attack on the skin” Mark says. And the pumpkin component in pie is rich in vitamin a, an antioxidant that supports the production and growth on new skin cells.

Verdict: the majority of your Thanksgiving plate offers more benefits than harm to your skin. Remember to say thank you for the second round of food – your skin and belly will be happy.

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