The 7 Healthiest Burger Toppings, Ranked
Summer is all about getting your grill on, and while you're likely aware of the health implications of what you're grilling (we recommend going grass-fed or high-quality plant-based!), you may not have considered the health effects of what goes on your burger. From gut-healing to inflammation-fighting, burger toppings can pack in a ton of benefits. Here are the top healthy toppings, ranked:
While classic mayonnaise wouldn't find a place on the list, the new breed of avocado-based mayos make the cut. Avocado oil has as much healthy monounsaturated fatty acids as olive oil but even more anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids. We love Primal Kitchen's version, and Chosen Foods even makes a vegan option.
Cheese is a classic burger topper, and while it's not at the top of the list, it deserves a spot on it if you choose the right type—grass-fed, pasture-raised cheese. This type of cheese is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a healthy fat that fights against cancer, diabetes, and weight gain. We like Organic Valley and Applegate for their widely available options.
Ketchup is a classic topper, and while it might not win any health points in its classic, high-fructose-corn-syrup-filled version, there are plenty of brands these days providing better-for-you options, like Sir Kensington's and Primal Kitchen, which frees you up to enjoy the mega anti-inflammatory benefits of the lycopene in the tomatoes.
4. Red Onions
Red onions add a cutting sweet bite to burgers, and they come with a ton of health benefits to boot. The pigmented skin is rich in quercetin, which has been shown to help protect cells and improve cardiovascular health. They're also packed with flavonoids, a type of anti-inflammatory antioxidant, so pile 'em on abundantly.
Yes, if you use wan iceberg lettuce, you'll be consuming mostly water, but burgers are a wonderful place to get in a good dose of leafy greens, one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Experiment with the peppery flavor of arugula or watercress, or go for a classic crispness with romaine. If you want more out-there options, try herbs or microgreens!
Pickles are rich in electrolytes, and they preserve the benefits of the original cucumber, which means they contain a ton of antioxidants. While we love vinegar varieties (like these from Thrive Market), these really earn a place on the list when you buy or make a fermented version. This type will be found in the refrigerated section of a grocery store and contains live probiotics to heal your gut as you enjoy your summer meal.
Mustard comes from the seeds of the mustard plant, a member of the brassica family. It has a ton of health benefits, ranging from cancer prevention to improving cardiovascular health, and it's prized in ayurveda for calming kapha and vata characteristics. Look for a brand with no added sugar whenever possible.
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