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Holiday fare not only yummy, can be good for you, too

  • Story Highlights
  • Most people gain only a pound between Thanksgiving, New Year's day
  • Tryptophan, falsely blamed for drowsiness, may help regulate immune function
  • Cranberries are full of antioxidants which may even help prevent tooth decay
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By Alison Ashton
Senior Food Editor
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Cooking Light

Thanksgiving begins a season of special meals and once-a-year indulgences. We all look forward to turkey, mashed potatoes, pecan pie, and other goodies. And because it's that time of year, we may take an extra helping of our favorite side dish or dessert.

Some seemingly indulgent holiday foods, like this pumpkin-orange cake, pack in nutrients too.

Don't feel too guilty about that. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, most people gain only a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, which is of little consequence as long as you drop it in the new year.

But whether you add an extra pound or maintain your weight through the season, the ingredients in traditional holiday fare offer nutritional gifts along with good flavor.

Tryptophan, the amino acid in turkey falsely accused of making revelers sleepy, may help regulate the body's immune function. Cranberries are full of antioxidants that may confer a number of health benefits, such as preventing tooth Three holiday eating myths busted

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Beta-carotene-rich produce like sweet potatoes and pumpkin may slow age-related decline in lung function, according to the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. Nuts are packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. You can even prepare stuffing with quinoa, a high-protein grain. And fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains are rich in fiber.

The holiday table can offer a bounty of healthful indulgences--especially if you prepare the recipes in this issue, which balance great taste with sensible amounts of calories and fat. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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