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Here’s How Long Thanksgiving Leftovers Last

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

If you were too full to finish that turkey, or you just couldn’t handle another spoonful of stuffing or gravy, then you probably have a litany of leftovers in your fridge. But how long can you leave all that food in there and still safely eat it? ABC News has answered that — but be aware, the freshness factor varies, depending on the food. For example, canned cranberry sauce will last seven to 14 days, but the stuffing, turkey and gravy need to be pitched after three or four days, unless you freeze them.

If you’ve thought to freeze your leftover turkey, then you’ll probably be looking for a new and different recipe once you thaw it (four months is the longest you want to leave it in the freezer for best quality). Fortunately, the benefits of turkey are always there, from B vitamins to folate, magnesium, potassium and more.

Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey meat, may aid in the production of serotonin in the body, and serotonin is a chemical responsible for improving your mood and sleep and suppressing your appetite.

If you’re looking for new side dishes to go with the turkey, or simply something to add to a turkey stew or soup, cremini mushrooms (or baby portobello) offer a nice balance to the turkey’s flavor. Cremini mushrooms are firmer and have a darker brown color compared to the common white button mushroom. These are harvested and consumed a little earlier than Portobello mushrooms, hence the common name.

Speaking of stew and soup, another thing you want to remember is that the turkey bones are great for making homemade broth. Here are just a few of the health benefits you can get from turkey broth:

  • Improved digestion: The gelatin found in bone broth helps support proper digestion by protecting the mucosal lining of the stomach.
  • Reduced inflammation: Bone broth contains valuable amino acids, such as glycine, proline and arginine, which may help fight inflammation.
  • Better bone health: Bone broth is a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and other trace minerals that play a vital role in bone strength, formation and density.
  • Healthier hair and nails: The gelatin in bone broth contains collagen, a type of protein that may help improve hair and nail growth.
  • Reduced joint pain: The melted cartilage in bone broth provides chondroitin sulfates, glucosamine and other compounds that may help reduce joint pain and inflammation.
  • Lower risk of infections: Bone broth provides a wide array of nutrients that may help strengthen your gut and protect your body against infection. A recent study also shows that the melted cartilage found in broth may help support the immune system.
  • Reduced weight: Research shows that the gelatin in bone broth can also help maximize satiety, efficiently diminishing your appetite and helping you lose weight.

In addition to the health benefits mentioned above, studies suggest that drinking bone broth may help you sleep better too, as its glycine content is found to have a calming effect. Plus, this food may also help prevent health problems caused by a leaky gut, such as allergies and autoimmune disorders.

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