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10 Common Turkey Mistakes You Won’t Make This Thanksgiving

10 Common Turkey Mistakes You Won’t Make This Thanksgiving

Everyone makes mistakes while trying to prepare a fabulous Thanksgiving turkey. But this year, RELAX! You’ve got it under control with these 10 easy tips that will save your turkey and make you look like a culinary rock star!

1. Not giving your turkey enough time to thaw.

    Chances are good that you’re going to purchase your turkey frozen, because that is how the majority of them come. It’s crucial to allot enough time for yours to thaw safely. The best way to get that frozen bird thawed is in the refrigerator. It will defrost at a rate of about four pounds per day, so the average 16-pound turkey could take at least four days to completely thaw! If you fail to give your turkey enough time to thaw, it will cook on the outside, but the inside will be super raw. Gross!

    2. You don’t let your bird come to room temperature.

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    roomTEMPturkey

      Take your turkey out of the refrigerator and park it on the kitchen counter for 60-90 minutes before roasting. Unpackage it and remove it from its brine (the liquid). This ensures that you cook an equally moist bird. If you’re a germaphobe, rest assured that this is safe and sanitary for that hour and a half.

      3. Stuffing your turkey.

      StuffingtheTurkey

        The middle of the turkey takes the longest to cook, so when you’re putting food into the cavity of the bird to pull out and eat later, it could be a potential health hazard. For the stuffing to be safe to eat, it needs to reach 165 degrees. However, by the time it reaches that temperature, the rest of the turkey is overcooked. Your options are to have an overcooked bird with properly heated stuffing or a turkey cooked to perfection but the stuffing is mushy and undercooked. Play it safe and bake the stuffing separately so that you can enjoy both foods. You’ll be glad you avoided this turkey mistake!

        4. Putting a damp bird in the oven.

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        patturkeydry

          It’s important to pat your turkey dry before you roast it. Don’t neglect drying inside the cavity of the bird as well. Many people forget about that because they are stuffing it. You want the bird to be dry if you wish to have a crispy, golden-brown turkey.

          5. Forgetting to season.

          cajun-smoked-turkey

            If you want a savory bird, you need to season it thoroughly. This means inside and out. You could simply sprinkle some salt in its cavity or loosely stuff it with herbs, lemons, onions, and fennel (not to eat). This adds flavor to the meat and the aroma will make your kitchen smell great too!

            6. Not using a roasting rack.

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            thanksgiving-turkey-tips_608

              It boggles my mind how many people don’t use a roasting rack. The roasting rack helps to cook the bird evenly. Without it, the meat on the bottom ends up dry, overcooked, and often burned. If you don’t want to waste part of your turkey each year, invest in a rack for your roasting pan. You can use it for roasting other meats too, so you’ll get use out of it more than just once a year.

              7. You skip the meat thermometer.

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                Many people skip using a meat thermometer and just rely on the plastic pop-up thermometer. This will get you into trouble. Use a standard meat thermometer that is metal and designed to withstand oven temperatures. Position it in the thickest part of the turkey’s thigh, because the dark meat of the turkey thigh takes longest to cook. When the thermometer reads 165, take it out!

                8. Cooking at too high of a temperature.

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                burnt-turkey

                  If you cook your turkey at too high of a temperature, the skin will burn and the meat will likely be undercooked. Yuck! It’s best to start roasting the bird at 475-500 degrees for the first 20-30 minutes and then reduce the heat to 400 degrees until the bird reaches 165 degrees.

                  9. Roasting the turkey well over 165°F.

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                    Maybe you’re using a meat thermometer and you’re roasting the turkey the oven at 400 degrees, but you still cook the turkey well past 165 degrees. If you’re letting the bird’s thigh temperature reach 180 degrees, it will be dry. There is no sense in waiting this long because the meat is perfectly safe for eating at 165 degrees. You could even cook it to just 160 degrees because the meat will continue to cook for a little while after you remove it from the oven.

                    10. Your turkey carving is shameful.

                    butcheredbird

                      Does your turkey look like a shredded mess on a platter? Or perhaps a poultry crime scene? Turkey carving is all about presentation. Here’s what you can do to make your carving turn out better this year:

                      1. Allow the bird to cool down for about 15 minutes before you start the carving process.
                      2. Start with cutting the leg quarters away first, and then work on the breast meat.
                      3. Try to take the breast meat off of the bone in one large piece and then slice it crosswise to ensure thicker, even slices.
                      4. Cut the thighs into larger pieces.
                      5. Only cut off what you will eat right away. If your family doesn’t plan to eat most of the bird during dinner, carve only half of the turkey. Carved meat will dry out faster than if it remains intact on the carcass.

                      Featured photo credit: whole turkey/Aimée Wimbush-Bourque via simplebites.net

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                      Naomi Teeter

                      Health Coach

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                      Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                      Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                      Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                      Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

                      If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

                      When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

                      In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

                      1. Salmon

                      Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

                      It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

                      Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

                      Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

                      Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

                      Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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                      2. Blueberries

                      Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

                      Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

                      Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

                      Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

                      Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

                      3. Turmeric

                      Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

                      Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

                      Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

                      Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

                      Curcumin has also been shown to:

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                      • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
                      • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
                      • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
                      • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

                      4. Coffee

                      Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

                      Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

                      Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

                      Coffee can also:

                      • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
                      • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
                      • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
                      • Improve your memory.
                      • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

                      5. Broccoli

                      What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

                      Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

                      Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

                      Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

                      Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

                      6. Bone broth

                      Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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                      Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

                      Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

                      Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

                      Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

                      With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

                      Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

                      7. Walnuts

                      Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

                      Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

                      Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

                      Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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                      8. Eggs

                      For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

                      Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

                      Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

                      9. Dark chocolate

                      You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

                      Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

                      Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

                      Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

                      Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

                      Conclusion

                      Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

                      In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

                      If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

                      More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
                      [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
                      [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
                      [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
                      [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
                      [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
                      [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
                      [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
                      [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
                      [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
                      [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
                      [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
                      [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
                      [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
                      [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
                      [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
                      [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
                      [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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