Which Food Gets the Gold Medal?

It’s Winter Olympics time. You’ve likely been watching athletes from around the world ski, skate, curl, and snowboard their way to gold, silver, and bronze glory.

In the spirit of gold, silver, and bronze, I’m going to share the winners in health promoting and wellness boosting foods.

Because, why not?

Drum roll, please! Here are the gold medal winners in the categories of:

  • Seeds & Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Protein

SEEDS & NUTS

Almonds

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First off, almonds are nutrient heavy hitters and contain significant amounts of fiber, protein, vitamin E, magnesium (which most of us are deficient in), and manganese.

Secondly, they are antioxidant powerhouses and eating almonds can reduce markers of oxidative damage.

Third, they may protect your cells from damage via vitamin E. Almonds are incredibly rich in vitamin E and studies support a correlation between vitamin E intake and lower rates of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Fourth, almonds may help you lower your cholesterol AND lose belly fat.

Fifth, almonds reduce hunger and can decrease your overall caloric intake.


Bottom line: Almonds contain healthy fat, fiber, protein, and important vitamins and minerals. They may whittle your waistline, lower your cholesterol, and help you lose weight. They take the gold in the nuts and seeds category!


Lentils

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Lentils take the silver.

Full disclosure, I hail from the Lentil capital of the US. In fact, my hometown has an annual Lentil Festival complete with a parade (which I was in), mascot (named Taste E. Lentil, of course), community size pot of lentil chili (free to all!), and lentil ice cream (which actually tastes good). I say this so you understand I may be a little biased about the lentils.

Lentils are a fantastic source of protein, fiber, folate, and other minerals.

Furthermore, studies show those who eat lentils:

  • Have lower rates of diabetes
  • Feel the need to eat less

How? It is thought lentils actually improve the gut be slowing the rate the stomach empties and improving digestion.


Bottom line: Lentils are a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. Eating them may help lower your risk of diabetes and help you eat less.


VEGETABLES

Broccoli

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Broccoli belongs to the Brassica family and has long been touted a health favorite. Not only does broccoli score highly for best appearance (who doesn’t love the cute florets?), but also for nutrient density. So much so that broccoli is known as a “Super Veggie.”

Broccoli is high in fiber, protein (really!), and vitamins C and K. Not to mention iron.

Broccoli is thought to:

  • Decrease cancer risk (particularly breast, pancreatic, lung, and colorectal)
  • Lower cholesterol levels

Broccoli’s weakness? High amounts may have harmful effects on the thyroid. Typically cooking can alleviate this side effect.


Bottom line: Broccoli is full of nutrients as well as fiber and protein. You can count on it to decrease cholesterol levels and your risk of cancer.


FRUIT

Blueberries

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Blueberries take the gold this year in the all important fruit category!

Why?

Blueberries are seriously nutrient dense. They are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and manganese. They do this while still being low in calories and relatively low in natural sugar.

Blueberries get high marks for their serious antioxidant composition. In fact, they are thought to have the highest antioxidant capacity of all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.

What do all these antioxidants do? They help prevent cancer and keep your cholesterol from harmful oxidation.

Blueberries may also lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attack. They may also help your body maintain better glucose levels.


Bottom line: In the fruit Olympics blueberries are all around winners.


PROTEIN

Eggs

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This one may be a surprise gold medal winner.

Because eggs have gotten bad press in the last ten years are so.

But eggs are packed full of goodness. They contain a plethora of vitamins (including A, B, D, E, and K). Eggs also contain significant amounts of protein.

Eggs are incredibly filling and can make you automatically eat fewer calories and lose weight.

Eggs increase your HDL (otherwise known as the “good” cholesterol). Furthermore, they help convert your LDL (known as the “bad” cholesterol) from dangerous small and dense particles to healthier larger particles. Omega-3 eggs may even lower triglyceride levels.


Bottom line: In the ever popular protein category, eggs take the gold for their nutrient density and ability to lower cholesterol and help you lose weight.


There you have it! In the Olympics of food, gold medal winners in every category. Next time you plan a meal, consider almonds, lentils, broccoli, blueberries, and eggs.

In health & happiness,
Skye