Foods Beginning with L – O
This index provides you with useful information about hundreds of different foods. Discover the health benefits of your favorite foods as well as the exuberant amount of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they contain to fuel your body and the effects they may have on various illnesses.
Use this alphabetized list to fuel your mind about the fuel for your body. Then jump on over to the recipe page to find a healthy recipe that incorporates these superfoods into an easy and nutritious meal or snack.
Lemons – this bright, tart, and acidic fruit is a great way to add flavor to dishes without adding extra salt or calories. Like all citrus fruits, lemons are packed with Vitamin C which helps maintain eye, skin, hair, and bone health as well as boosts immunity and protects against aging. Try adding lemon juice to your glass of tea or water or top roasted vegetables or meats with freshly grated lemon peel or zest.
Lentils – a member of the legume family, lentils are a great source of protein and cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber making them an excellent choice for those seeking weight loss or maintenance or looking to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease or type II diabetes. Lentils high amount of soluble fiber also plays a major role in stabilizing your blood sugar to prevent hunger spikes and weight gain. They contain a high amount of vitamins and minerals including folate, phosphorus, manganese, and iron which play an important role in metabolism, bone and joint health, and heart health.
Limes – also a citrus fruit like lemons, limes are a great way to add flavor to dishes without adding extra salt or calories. Like all citrus fruits, limes are packed with Vitamin C which helps maintain eye, skin, hair, and bone health as well as boosts immunity and protects against aging. Try adding lime juice to a glass of water or squeeze it into freshly prepared guacamole. For a sweet treat, add lime juice and zest to a cup of low-fat yogurt topped with a few crushed graham crackers for a lighter version of key lime pie.
Mango – this tropical fruit is great to eat on its own or as an addition to salad and fresh salsa. Its sweet flavor and rich texture provides a great contrast to the pungent flavors found in hot chilies, red peppers, onions, and fish. Like all fruits and vegetables, mangoes are high in fiber which helps lower cholesterol and may prevent against heart disease and stroke. They also help prevent arthritis, osteoporosis, and cataracts and promote immunity and skin health due to their high levels of Vitamins A and C.
Maple Syrup – a liquid sweeter with about the same sweetness as table sugar, maple syrup, just like any natural sweetener is made of simple sugars which can increase blood sugar levels rapidly causing unwanted energy spikes, increased hunger, and, consequently, increased weight gain. Research has shown that although maple syrup is natural and contains a small amount of antioxidants, it is still processed in the body the same way as table sugar and therefore should be limited in one’s diet. Individuals with diabetes should significantly reduce their intake of all sweeteners and sugars due to the impaired ability for the body to regulate blood sugar.
Milk – low-fat or fat-free (skim) milk is a great source of protein, calcium, and Vitamin D which are all important nutrients to protect against heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and obesity. It’s also high in B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and zinc which have been shown to increase metabolism, maintain energy balance, promote healthy cells, and decrease inflammation. When choosing milk, it is best to choose low-fat or fat-free varieties due to the high calorie and saturated fat content in whole milk. Diets high in saturated fat increase your risk for obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. All varieties of milk contain a relatively high amount of natural sugars, so individuals with diabetes should reduce their intake of milk or use unsweetened non-dairy milk (such as almond, soy, or rice milk) as a substitution.
Millet – this grain is gluten-free and contains a higher amount of fiber and protein than white or brown rice making it a great choice for individuals following a vegetarian diet, seeking weight loss, or wanting to lower their risk of degenerative diseases. Millet is an excellent source of antioxidants, particularly B-vitamins and magnesium which are important for metabolism, blood pressure, cognitive function, heart health and bone health. Millet can be substituted for rice in any dish or can be ground into flour and used as a gluten-free alternative in baking.
Mushrooms – low in calories and packed with nutrients, mushrooms are an excellent addition to any diet. They are a good source of Vitamin D and B-vitamins, particularly riboflavin and niacin, which help increase metabolism, maintain energy balance, and promote eye, skin, and bone health. They are also high in antioxidants and minerals, especially selenium, which is known to promote thyroid function and may prevent the risk of some cancers.
Mustard – this popular condiment is low in calories and packs a strong flavor making it a smart substitute for high calorie or high sugar condiments such as mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce, or ranch dressing. Just one teaspoon contains only 5 calories, 0g of fat and 0g of sugar. However, mustard is high in sodium which can lead to an increased risk for hypertension and heart disease so be mindful of your serving size. Mustard gets its yellow color from turmeric, a spice that has been linked to the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, arthritis, and some cancers. It is also high in selenium and magnesium, both essential minerals known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Nuts – nuts are a great source of monounsaturated fats and protein and are an important part of any diet. Common varieties include almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and pistachios. Although they are good for you, they are very high in calories and fat so portion size is essential to avoid weight gain and reap their nutritional benefits. Many nuts are also sold with added sodium which can increase the risk of hypertension and heart disease so be sure to choose unsalted or lightly salted varieties. When eaten in small amounts, nuts stabilize blood sugar, decrease cholesterol, and increase feelings of fullness making them a great choice for those seeking weight loss and prevention of heart disease and diabetes. Nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals that decrease inflammation and play a role in bone health to protect against arthritis and osteoporosis. Be sure to stick to one 1/4 cup serving per day by buying pre-portioned packets or making your own at home.
Oats – this grain is considered a “superfood” due to its high fiber content and role in reducing cholesterol and appetite. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the small intestine and shuttles it out of the body reducing “bad” cholesterol and, therefore, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The high fiber content in oats also increases feelings of fullness and improves blood-sugar levels making them an excellent choice for those seeking weight loss/maintenance or those with diabetes. Oats can be made into oatmeal for breakfast or ground into oat bran and used as a healthy substitute in baked goods.
Olive oil – this popular oil is an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fat which have been shown to decrease cholesterol and lower the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Monounsaturated fats also help regulate blood sugar levels and increase feelings of fullness making them an important part of anyone’s diet, especially those with diabetes and seeking weight loss. Although olive oil is a great substitute for butter or margarine, it is high in calories so be mindful of serving sizes when using it.
Onions – this vegetable is loaded with vitamins and minerals and add a significant amount of flavor to any dish. Their high content of flavonoids and antioxidants, such as quercetin, have been shown to protect the body from heart disease, stroke, and inflammation and may help prevent the development of certain cancers. Onions also have a high amount of phytochemicals which increases the absorption of Vitamin C and helps protect the body from infection.
Oranges – this bright, citrus fruit has a high water content and a vibrant flavor making it a great choice for those seeking weight loss or weight maintenance. Like other citrus fruits, oranges are high in vitamins and minerals, especially B-Vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin A, which play a key role in metabolism, immunity, and bone, skin, and hair health. Oranges also contain a high amount of folate which is important for the maintenance of healthy cells and may prevent against cognitive decline in aging.