(WASHINGTON) — After January 1 rolls around, it’s time to start eating foods that are a little more nutritious than champagne and candy canes. Keith Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, gives his top foods that pack a punch.
Oysters: Oysters are high in zinc. Three ounces of oysters contains 150 milligrams of zinc. Why is zinc important? “Zinc plays a main role in immune system function and repair,” says Ayoob.
Eggs: Eggs are one of the “few dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which helps to prevent age related macrodegeneration,” says Ayoob. The nutrients of the egg are in the yolk, another reason to eat more than just the white. The yolk is also high in vitamin D, and the lutein in eggs is easily absorbed.
Beans: Beans are a vegetable and also a good source of protein. They have a ton of fiber: 1/2 cup of beans has 6 to 9 grams of fiber, or a third of your daily needs. Beans are also excellent at lowering cholesterol. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, people who ate a 1/2 cup daily lowered their cholesterol by 8-10 percent. If that isn’t reason enough to eat them, they’re also high in iron.
Garlic: Shown to reduce bad cholesterol, garlic is another great food. It’s been shown to kill bacteria, and seems to make platelets less sticky, which makes them less likely to cause clots.
Cranberry: This food is great in all forms: juice, dry or fresh. Its anti-adhesion properties reduce risk of ulcers, and 8 to 10 ounces a day reduces the risk of urinary tract infections.
Almonds: “Almonds are awesome,” says Ayoob. “They’re a good source of healthy fat, easy to carry around, and high in fiber.” Almonds can be carried around in tins for a portable 1 ounce portion. Have an apple, low-fat milk, and an ounce of almonds for a perfect snack on the go!
Low-fat Chocolate Milk: Forget the sugary sports drink post workout and try a glass of low-fat chocolate milk. “Milk is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, vitamin d for muscle repair, and has the right amount of sodium,” says Ayoob. In a study done by James Madison University, athletes who drank chocolate milk post workout had improved endurance in subsequent workouts.
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