Category Archives: Best of Foods

GreenerChoices.org | Best organic, fair trade coffee 8/11

Best organic, fair trade coffee 8/11
(This article is adapted from ConsumerReports.org.)

Americans consume about 25 percent of the world’s coffee. The average coffee drinker enjoys 3.3 cups a day, or about 1,200 cups a year. Maybe that’s why there seems to be a coffee shop on every corner.

Arabica and robusta are the two main types of beans for all coffee. Robusta beans are less expensive and easier to grow. Arabica beans tend to make better coffee. Roasting is what turns green beans into coffee that is ready to grind and brew. The type of roast is often listed on the label—you may have to experiment before finding the one you prefer. And different brands may characterize their roasts differently.

Like wine, coffees come in different varietals, meaning from a single region. While blends are still the best-selling type of coffee, when Consumer Reports last tested blends, none were rated excellent or even very good.

In fact, more and more people are sampling other types of coffee from regions such as Columbia, Kenya, Sumatra and Ethiopia. In taste tests on these varietals, several organic and fair trade brands were high-rated and recommended.

Green recommendations

Columbian: Newman’s Own Organics Colombian Especial, 10 oz., about $8.50

Kenyan: Allegro Kenya Grand Cru (Whole Foods), 12 oz., about $12.99

Sumatran: Green Mountain Coffee Organic Sumatran Reserve, 10 oz., about $8.49

Ethiopian: Caribou Ethiopia Finjal Organic, 16 oz., about $14.99

Coffee label terms to know

Fair trade certified–Part of a nonprofit, international program that advocates sustainable production and fair prices for small farmers. TransFair USA, the certifying organization, also works for safe working conditions (and no forced child labor), limits the use of harmful pesticides, and supports credit plans and training for farm workers.


Organic–Means that the coffee was grown without synthetic fertilizers and most industrial pesticides.


Rainforest Alliance certified–This nonprofit group has determined that chemical pesticide use was limited, water and soil were conserved, and workers were treated fairly.

Tips on storing coffee

Decorative glass canisters may look great on your countertop, but they are not the best way to store coffee. To maintain freshness and flavor, coffee must be kept away from moisture, heat, light, and strong odors. Coffee can pick up strong odors from other foods stored near it. Refrigerating your daily supply of coffee is not ideal because moisture will quickly deteriorate its quality. Instead, try these tips:

Keep it airtight–Invest in an airtight ceramic, glass, or non-reactive metal container. If you buy coffee in large amounts, divide it between two containers, keeping the larger, unused portion airtight until it is needed.


Keep it cool–Store your coffee in a dark, cool location away from the oven. Don’t pick a cabinet on an outside wall if it gets a lot of sun during the day.


Purchase smaller quantities–Coffee loses its freshness quite quickly after it has been roasted. Buy fresh roasted coffee in amounts that will last one to two weeks to preserve its freshness and flavor.

Cinnamon: The latest hope for Alzheimer’s? | Health

Can an extract from this fragrant spice ward off the devastating brain disease – and maybe even diabetes?

Cinnamon

Researchers discovered that an extract in the cinnamon can delay the effects of five aggressive strains of Alzheimer’s-inducing genes.
A new Israeli study shows that the common spice cinnamon seems to delay the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain condition.
The research builds on the work of Prof. Michael Ovadia of Tel Aviv University, who discovered about a decade ago that an extract of cinnamon — one of the aromatic ingredients in the incense used in the ancient Jewish Temple – has powerful anti-viral properties.
Curious about other applications, Tel Aviv University PhD student Anat Frydman-Marom added Ovadia’s cinnamon extract, CEppt, into her line of research on compounds that may fight Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Initial results surpassed her expectations and took her research in a new direction.
Now her work has the sweet smell of success: CEppt can delay the effects of five aggressive strains of Alzheimer’s-inducing genes, according to a multi-lab research paper co-authored by Frydman-Marom, Ovadia, Ehud Gazit, Daniel Segal and Dan Frenkel in the medical journal PLoS ONE.
Could help diabetes as well
Using in-vitro tests and then Drosophila fly and mice models, the team of scientists found that amyloid plaques, which can lead to Alzheimer’s, had been dissolved by CEppt.
The extract also showed pharmacological properties that could be more effective against Type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease than other compounds they were studying, Frydman-Marom tells ISRAEL21c.
The notion that cinnamon works to fight disease is “for me, a matter of fact, but it’s also a spiritual story,” says Frydman-Marom, referring to the biblical connection.
In their paper, the researchers note that cinnamon is one of the world’s oldest herbal medicines, mentioned in Exodus, Proverbs and the Song of Songs, as well as Chinese texts as old as 4,000 years.
The special healing abilities of cinnamon are due to components such as cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol, and a wide range of other volatile substances like safrole, coumarin and cinnamic acid esters.
Scientists have already shown cinnamon can help control blood sugar and has both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers hope that this novel material, as a food additive, drug or vitamin, could be used in younger people to prevent the effects of Alzheimer’s later in life.
“My lab was in charge of the fly work, and in part was involved in the in-vitro work,” Segal tells ISRAEL21c. “It’s exciting because it seems we are onto finding some kind of molecule that may be able to alleviate some, if not all, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s so this could be prevented in younger ages, and in older ages too.
“Since it is an edible fraction of a common edible plant, it should be quickly translated to compounds made available for users pending doctors’ instructions. As a food additive in combination with others, we expect it to be highly effective,” Segal adds.
He believes that some health benefits could be derived from drinking cinnamon tea, but cautions against self-medicating, since the bark-derived spice also has elements that can be toxic in large doses.
But it’s certainly a pleasant material to work with, notes Frydman-Marom. “It’s very nice to work in the lab — where everything smells so bad — and then suddenly everything smells like cinnamon.”

>Train More or Eat Less?

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What’s the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

Train More or Eat Less?: What's the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

The Decision

If your goal is fat loss, then there’s going to come a time when you have to make a decision: How much more am I going to diet? How much cardio or extra exercise am I going to do? Which is better?
Typically, there are four basic strategies when it comes to getting ripped:

Strategy #1: Drugs

Most of us aren’t going to go this route, nor do we need to, but I have to mention it because it’s a method commonly used by professional bodybuilders.
I was reading an old bodybuilding interview from the Tom Platz era where the competitor said, “Oh, you really don’t need a lot of cardio.” I’m thinking, well, you didn’t, dude!
But if you’re not artificially elevating your basal metabolic rate, jacking around with lots of thyroid meds, clenbuterol etc., then at some point you have to bring cardio into the equation.

Strategy #2: Cardio

There are two basic types here: the non-panting, semi-fasted variety that I’ve written about before and high-intensity work like sprints and intervals. These can be used in conjunction with each other or independently depending on your state of training.

Strategy #3: Food Restriction

Sure, this is obviously part of any diet plan, but you can only push it so far.
There’s a miniature literature review here on the site that outlines how far one can go while avoiding “starvation mode” (metabolic slow-down) by sticking to just moderate kcal restrictions.

Strategy #4: More Weight Training

Train More or Eat Less?: What's the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

Although we don’t think about it often, a longer weight-training workout does lead to extra calorie expenditure, some derived from fat oxidation.
We shouldn’t forget that hitting the iron itself increases subcutaneous abdominal fat breakdown and “burning.” (Ormsbee, et al. 2009) If you’re going to try to avoid cardio, your only other options are more volume, finishing work, or accessory work during your regular training session.
Of these four strategies, two get the most attention: cardio and diet. So let’s take a look at each and establish some guidelines.

Calories: How Low is Too Low?

You’ve heard this applied to other topics, and it’s true for calorie intake as well: “You can only go so far to the left before you’ve got to go back to the right.”
How many calories can you get away with before your metabolism really slows down and you go into starvation mode?
Starvation mode is something you have to avoid at all costs. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is about 65 or 70% of all the calories you put out every day. So when you slow that down, even a cardio workout that burns 400 calories may just be making up for a depressed BMR.
In the classic underfeeding studies in the 60’s and 70’s, college-aged men were fed 3500 calories per day, then dropped to only 450 per day. These poor guys experienced up to a 45% drop in BMR in a single month. (Bray, G., 1969)
That’s true starvation mode: their bodies were trying to keep from dying, their metabolisms were “panicking” and slowing down because it was assumed they were in the middle of a famine.
When you do a literature review, the magnitude of reduction becomes fairly clear: somewhere around 600 or 700 calories intake is about as far as I’d want to initially go.
What’s maintenance intake? It’s about 3000 kcal per day in a typical (non-lifter) college male. (Borel, M., et al 1984)
Okay, so if the average college male needs 3000 calories per day, the first step might be to drop to 2400. That’s definitely below maintenance for any adult male who’s lifting weights.
That may be the first stage. I don’t think it’s a good idea to jump right into a very aggressive diet. You probably aren’t relying on lots of drugs, so you really have tiptoe here – or at least show some respect. Ease calories down in a more controlled manner rather than going from a full-on mass phase to a crazy-strict 1600 calorie diet.
Hormones change fairly quickly in response to eating patterns. As my old endocrine professor said, “When it comes to hormones, you have to nudge the body.” You don’t force it, because then homeostatic mechanisms kick in and make you pay the price tenfold.
It’s not that painful to get down to a 2400 calorie intake. If you do something practical like cut the carbs out of your dinner and stop drinking calories (other than protein shakes and peri-workout drinks), you can get there easily. Just cut out the obvious junk food and 2400 is an easy mark to hit.
Do that for the first month or so. After the first month, you’re used to eating clean: no more junk, a lower carb dinner, etc. Then, in a month or two, continue the negative calorie balance with some cardio rather than dropping calorie intake again right way.
I like the non-panting morning variety (walking on a treadmill) because it doesn’t overtrain you. You’re not crossing any stress hormone thresholds. That said, you could do some high-intensity interval work after your weight-training workout if that’s your preference. I’ve been known to switch to this when I really needed the extra hour of sleep the prior morning (making pre-breakfast cardio impossible).
But frankly, I usually don’t have anything left in me after the weights. When I hear people say they do “lots of interval work” after their regular workouts, I worry that they’re not going to achieve their best muscular gains. That can be easily overdone: you’re dividing your body’s resources – half into the weights and half into the constant aerobics training. Not good.
Although controversial due to methodological differences, sub-optimal training responses have been well-documented in spaceflight, military, and other studies. (Carrithers, J. et al. 2007; Docherty & Sporer 2000; Dolezal & Potteiger 1998; Dudley & Djamil, 1985; Santtila, M., et al. 2009.)
Now, at bodybuilding shows, I hear my fellow competitors talk about how they quickly reduce calories to very low levels, then stay there for 12 weeks. Well, in open competitions, when the competitor is on lots of “gas,” he can do that. I can’t, so I try to coax the body fat off with a 20-week diet that starts “easy” and gets more aggressive toward the end. This is not only metabolically smarter, it’s psychologically better – for me at any rate. It builds momentum.
During the first month, I just cut down the calories moderately. (Sometimes I’ll do some very limited interval work on the bike just to set the stage for the following month.) The second month I add in regular non-panting cardio, keeping calories the same. With the pre-breakfast style cardio that I do, I usually drain off 400 more calories.
So if you’re eating 2400 kcal per day, you’re now down to 2000 in a sense because you’re “bleeding off” another 400 with the extra work. Now you’re in a calorie deficit through a combination of dietary manipulation and cardio.
If it doesn’t ask you, it’s going to assume you’re a 150-pound dude. If you’re not, then you’re burning far more calories than it tells you.
That’s still no guarantee that it’s accurate. Those consoles on the cardio machines are just glorified calculators, not portable metabolic carts, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

The Exercise Factor

Train More or Eat Less?: What's the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

Remember, exercise is not just anti-eating. Exercise builds structures like capillaries and mitochondria. In other words, exercise builds your fat-burning machinery.
Let’s say your maintenance level is 3000 calories per day. After a month or so of easing calories down, you drop 600 calories, then spend another 400 calories on cardio several days a week. Now you’re 1000 calories sub-maintenance.
Now is when you have to start making decisions based on your results and individual needs. You’re eating less and doing more cardio – you’re pushing it pretty hard. At this point, I’d suggest a couple of things:
First, if you feel like the diet is really easy, maybe you can restrict down again food-wise. You take it down to 2000 calories of food per day if you’re not already there.
Second, if you’re already having a tough time with diet, the flipside is to add more calorie output in some way with physical activity. If you’re already doing the fasted morning stuff, maybe you try some HIIT after a weight-training workout, or vice-versa. If you can’t do both because of your schedule, you can start adding sets in the gym.
Once you’re 1000 calories below maintenance, you really have to decide whether you’re fresh enough to do this physically or dietarily. It’s a subjective call. If this is coming at the end of month two or during month three of your cutting phase, and you find yourself having a tough time sleeping, getting head colds, upper respiratory tract infections, or cold sores, you’re probably overtraining.
There’s a clear link between your immune system taking a hit and overreaching. Your body could be saying, “Listen, I’m struggling here. Enough with the extra exercise volume!”
Use this to decide where you’re going next. If my motivation to train was humming along at 6’s and 7’s and now it’s routinely a 3 or a 4, I’m burning myself out. Now I know not to add any more cardio or sets in the weight room.
I do the same thing with hunger. This is where experience plays a roll: Is it “munchies” calling, or is it truedepletion? There’s being “empty and weak” and then there’s “wishing you had a bag of chips.” The latter is just your love handles calling. The former may be your muscles calling, so go ahead and feed them a little.

The 1200 to 1600 Calorie Rule

Train More or Eat Less?: What's the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

As a rule of thumb, most authorities will tell you – rightly – to never go below 1200 calories a day. But frankly, that’s usually for smaller women or for those who aren’t physically active. Why 1200? Because you can’t possibly get all the nutrients you need from a variety of foods with a ceiling below that!
For college men, I’d never go below 1600 calories per day, and then only temporarily. That’s ridiculously low, especially if you’re already doing cardio as part of your plan.
Right now I’m two weeks from a bodybuilding show, in strict contest prep mode, and I’m sitting at 1600-1800 cals. Let me tell you, it’s not even fun right now! I’m just trying to hold myself together. The little nagging injuries are starting to accumulate. (Then again, I’m 42, with lots of mileage on this chassis.)
In any case, if you’re strung out and under-eating, you may start cramping and getting little injuries that just don’t go away. This is especially obvious to the older, more experienced lifter. That’s because you’re eating so little that your tissues just aren’t turning over.
Let’s say you’re well into a diet, say month four (weeks 13-16 out of 20). You’re at a rock-bottom 1600 kcal per day and doing cardio. First, realize that this isn’t sustainable. You should have a target date where the diet is “finished.” Now, consider NEPA.

The NEPA Factor

One of then things I have people do is buy a pedometer that measures steps taken per day. First, get some baseline data of how many steps you take when you’re eating well – your normal diet. Let’s say you’re walking around getting a good 8000 steps per day.
But now, months deep into your diet, you look down and you’re getting 4000 or 5000 steps per day. You’re moving around less in part because you have less thyroid and leptin. You’re less energized. You’re sluggish. Your body is trying to conserve energy.
This decreased NEPA (Non-Exercise Physical Activity) is yet another factor to keep in mind. It’s one more thing you can “ballpark” measure.
I don’t think people really understand NEPA. Most of us are closer to sedentary than we think, even if we go to the gym and do our cardio. To achieve “very active” status in one of those formulas that determines your calorie needs, you have to have a manual labor job, then go work out, then go dancing all night!
Most of us fall into the middle of the NEPA category: light to sedentary work but with intense recreational exertion. Overall, this may be considered “moderately active” in one of those dietary software programs. That’s where I fall as a bodybuilding college professor.

The Supplement Edge

If you’re afraid that your BMR is slowing, consider supplements. Caffeine will boost it by about 10%, and so will Spike® Energy Drink or Hot-Rox® Extreme. Plus, good ol’ water helps with thermogeniesis. (Boschmann, M., et al. 2003) So you may want to swig down your supplements with plentiful, cold H20.

So What Have We Learned?

Train More or Eat Less?: What's the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?

Exercise results in a small magnitude of body weight change, but it’s long in duration (lasting). In other words, for those who start to exercise but don’t touch their diets, they’ll have modest results, but those results will last forever if they keep exercising.
Diet is the opposite. Dietary changes tend to be dramatic. You can lose 10, 20, 30 pounds, but it’s not long term, especially if it’s not accompanied by training. The long term success rate of restrictive stand-alone diets is dismal (perhaps about 5%) over eight years.
This illustrates why it’s important to do both: exercise and eat right. You can take small steps and increase one but not the other, or you can do both at the same time, intelligently, for faster results.
How much exercise is too much? If you experience lack of motivation and are getting sick or injured, you’ve already gone too far. As a best guess for most people, two hours a day is the top-end. That could be an hour in the morning and an hour at night.
Ectomorphic people, who tend to be thinner and more angular, may only be able to get away with 90 to 120 minutes per day.
Very robust endomorphs or mesomorphs, those who genetically carry more fat and muscle, may be able to get away with 2.5 hours of exercise per day.
For calorie restriction, 1600 calories is rock-bottom for the average T NATION reader. My advice is to take your time getting to that level, then have a targeted end date. I like 20-week diets.
Remember, you can’t keep cranking the diet knob and lowering calories forever. Instead, switch gears: do extra sets, add cardio, or add supplements.

References and Further Reading

1. Borel M., et al. Am J Clin Nutr 1984 Dec;40(6):1264-72.
2. Boschmann, M., et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Dec;88(12):6015-9.
3. Bray, G. Lancet 1969; 2:397.
4. Carrithers, J., et al Aviat Space Environ Med. 2007 May;78(5):457-62.
5. Docherty, D. and Sporer, B. Sports Med. 2000 Dec;30(6):385-94.
6. Dolezal, B. and Potteiger, J. J Appl Physiol. 1998 Aug;85(2):695-700
7. Dudley, G. and Djamil, R. J Appl Physiol. 1985 Nov;59(5):1446-51.
8. Ormsbee, M., et al. J Appl Physiol. 2009 May;106(5):1529-37.
9. Santtila, M., et al. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Jul;23(4):1300-8.

Wikio

>15 Fired-Up Foods that Burn Away Pounds

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By: Brian Good
The shortcut to losing weight? Fast food. Not the kind the clown and the King try to shove down our throats, but rather, edible amphetamines-foods that act like speed for the fat-melting motor known as our metabolism. Eat these foods and you’re guaranteed to burn more calories…just by sitting there and listening to yourself digest.

Only one catch: Like any good buzz, this boost is temporary. “The only way to alter your resting metabolism permanently is to gain or lose weight, or to build extra muscle,” says Janet Walberg-Rankin, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology at Virginia Tech. But look at it this way: If you have a few of these supercharged snacks and drinks throughout the day, for enough days, you will lose weight.

And that’s if you’re doing nothing. Imagine if you were to stop listening to your stomach serenading you and actually begin exercising, too? The blubber-busting possibilities are endless. So grab a fork; it’s time to add fuel to the fire.

And for more great ways to and lose weight and stay slim for good, pick up a copy of The Men’s Health Diet today! It combines the latest findings in exercise and nutrition with practical how-to-advice that will transform your body into a fat-burning machine.
Milk, Whole Grain Cereal, Oats
Secret Ingredients: Calcium, complex carbohydrates, and fiber

How they work: Complex carbohydrates and fiber pump up metabolism by keeping insulin levels low after you eat. That’s good, because spikes in the production of insulin send a signal to the body that it’s time to start storing fat. And in order to stockpile fat, your body has to slow down your metabolism, causing you to burn fewer calories, says Margaret McNurlan, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Since oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, it causes less of a spike in insulin levels than foods like bagels, she says.

Besides helping to keep insulin production down, eating breakfast can also help stoke your daily calorie burn. When the U.S. Navy studied the metabolisms and eating habits of a group of its personnel, it found that eating breakfast helped raise the men’s metabolisms by as much as 10 percent. “By skipping meals, you slow down your metabolism and prime your body to store fat,” says McNurlan.

The calcium in milk is a metabolic trigger as well. A University of Tennessee study found that dieters who consumed between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day lost nearly twice as much weight as dieters getting less calcium.

Jalapenos, Habaneros, Cayennes
Secret Ingredient: Capsaicin—the chemical in peppers that gives them their bite

How it works: By speeding up your heart rate.

A study from the late ’80s found that eating a single spicy meal can boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent, with the spike in calorie burning lasting for up to 3 hours after you finish eating. More recently, a study from Laval University in Quebec found that men who consumed coffee plus red pepper-packed snacks and meals were able to burn nearly 1,000 more calories a day than a control group.

Small snacks can also help keep your body from running out of fuel-preventing those 3 p.m. office blahs. “When you restrict the number of calories your body has for fuel, your metabolic rate can drop temporarily,” says Susan Roberts, Ph.D., chief of the energy-metabolism laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. That makes it easier to pack on the pounds and harder to burn them off again.

Green Tea, Coffee
Secret Ingredients: Caffeine and a chemical in the tea called EGCG

How they work: Caffeine helps speed up your heart rate. The faster your heart beats, the more calories you burn. EGCG works in a similar way, but instead of revving up your heart, it causes your brain and nervous system to run more quickly-again helping you burn more calories.

In studies, researchers found that a combination of caffeine and a 90-mg dose of EGCG taken three times a day can help you burn an extra 80 calories a day. And that’s just when your body’s at rest. A study conducted by the Canadian government found that soldiers who consumed caffeine in the 12 hours prior to a physical-fitness test not only were able to work out longer before becoming exhausted, but also consumed more oxygen while working out. The body’s oxygen requirements are directly related to the speed of-guess what-your metabolism, so the more oxygen you use, the more calories you burn during your workout.

Lean Beef, Pork, Chicken, Turkey
Secret Ingredient: Protein

How it works: It takes more energy for your body to digest the protein in meat than it does for it to digest carbohydrates or fat, according to Doug Kalman, R.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates, a nationally recognized pharmaceutical-research facility. “That means that the more protein you eat, the harder your body has to work to digest it, and the more calories you’ll burn in the process,” he says.

When researchers at Arizona State University compared the benefits of a high-protein diet with those of a high-carbohydrate diet, they found that people who ate a high-protein diet burned more than twice as many calories in the hours following their meal as those eating carbs. Even better, researchers in Denmark found that men who substituted protein for 20 percent of the carbs in their diets were able to boost their metabolisms, increasing the number of calories they burned each day by up to 5 percent.

Salmon, Tuna, Sardines
Secret Ingredient: Omega-3 fatty acids

How they work: By altering levels of a hormone called leptin in your body. Several recent studies suggest that leptin directly influences your metabolism, determining whether you burn calories or store them as fat.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that mice with low leptin levels have faster metabolisms and are able to burn fat more quickly than animals with higher leptin levels. The best way to lower your leptin? Eat fish.

Mayo Clinic researchers studying the diets of two African tribes-one of which frequently ate fish and one of which didn’t-found that fish eaters had leptin levels nearly five times lower than the levels found in tribes that primarily ate vegetables.

The good news, if you don’t like fish: Fish-oil supplements may work just as well as the stuff with scales. French researchers found that men who replaced 6 grams of fat in their diets with 6 grams of fish oil were able to boost their metabolisms and lose an average of 2 pounds in just 12 weeks.

Wikio

6 Power Foods You Should Be Eating

By: Carolyn Kylstra
Some foods just aren’t taken seriously.

Consider celery, for example—forever the garnish, never the main meal. You might even downgrade it to bar fare, since the only stalks most guys eat are served alongside hot wings or immersed in Bloody Marys.

All of which is a shame, really. Besides being a perfect vehicle for peanut butter, this vegetable contains bone-beneficial silicon and cancer-fighting phenolic acids. And those aren’t even what makes celery so good for you.

You see, celery is just one of six underappreciated and undereaten foods that can instantly improve your diet. Make a place for them on your plate, and you’ll gain a new respect for the health benefits they bestow—from lowering blood pressure to fighting belly fat. And the best part? You’ll discover just how delicious health food can be.

Celery
This water-loaded vegetable has a rep for being all crunch and no nutrition. But ditch that mindset: Celery contains stealth nutrients that heal.

Why it’s healthy: “My patients who eat four sticks of celery a day have seen modest reductions in their blood pressure—about 6 points systolic and 3 points diastolic,” says Mark Houston, M. D., director of the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas Hospital, in Nashville. It’s possible that phytochemicals in celery, called phthalides, are responsible for this health boon. These compounds relax muscle tissue in artery walls and increase bloodflow, according to nutritionist Jonny Bowden, Ph. D., author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. And beyond the benefits to your BP, celery also fills you up—with hardly any calories.

How to eat it: Try this low-carbohydrate, protein-packed recipe for a perfect snack any time of day.

In a bowl, mix a 4.5-ounce can of low-sodium tuna (rinsed and drained), 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion, 1/4 cup of finely chopped apple, 2 tablespoons of fat-free mayonnaise, and some fresh ground pepper. Then spoon the mixture into celery stalks. (Think tuna salad on a log.) Makes 2 servings

Per serving: 114 calories, 15 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber), 1 gram fat

Seaweed
While this algae is a popular health food in Japan, it rarely makes it into U. S. homes.

Why it’s healthy: There are four classes of seaweeds—green, brown, red, and blue-green—and they’re all packed with healthful nutrients. “Seaweeds are a great plant source of calcium,” says nutritionist Alan Aragon, M.S. They’re also loaded with potassium, which is essential for maintaining healthy blood-pressure levels. “Low potassium and high sodium intake can cause high blood pressure,” Bowden says. “Most people know to limit sodium, but another way to combat the problem is to take in more potassium.”

How to eat it: In sushi, of course. You can also buy sheets of dried seaweed at Asian groceries, specialty health stores, or online at edenfoods.com. Use a coffee grinder to grind the sheets into a powder. Then use the powder as a healthy salt substitute that’s great for seasoning salads and soups.

Hemp Seeds
Despite the Cannabis classification, these seeds aren’t for smoking. But they may provide medicinal benefits.

Why they’re healthy: “Hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Cassandra Forsythe, Ph. D., a nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut. What’s more, a 1-ounce serving of the seeds provides 11 grams of protein—but not the kind of incomplete protein found in most plant sources. Hemp seeds provide all the essential amino acids, meaning the protein they contain is comparable to that found in meat, eggs, and dairy.

How to eat them: Toss 2 tablespoons of the seeds into your oatmeal or stir-fry. Or add them to your postworkout shake for an extra dose of muscle-building protein.

Scallops
Perhaps these mollusks are considered guilty by association, since they often appear in decadent restaurant meals that are overloaded with calories. (But then again, so does asparagus.)

Why they’re healthy: Scallops are more than 80 percent protein. “One 3-ounce serving provides 20 grams of protein and just 95 calories,” says Bowden. They’re also a good source of both magnesium and potassium. (Clams and oysters provide similar benefits.)

How to eat them: Sear the scallops: It’s a fast and easy way to prepare this seafood.

Purchase fresh, dry-packed scallops (not the “wet-packed” kind) and place them on a large plate or cookie sheet. While you preheat a skillet on medium high, pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season the exposed sides with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. When the skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil to it. Being careful not to overcrowd, lay the scallops in the skillet, seasoned-side down, and then season the top sides.

Sear the scallops until the bottoms are caramelized (about 2 minutes), and then flip them to sear for another 1 to 2 minutes, depending on size and thickness. Now they’re ready to eat. Pair the scallops with sauteed vegetables, or place them on a bed of brown rice.

Dark Meat
Sure, dark meat has more fat than white meat does, but have you ever considered what the actual difference is? Once you do, Thanksgiving won’t be the only time you “call the drumstick.”

Why it’s healthy: “The extra fat in dark turkey or chicken meat raises your levels of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that makes you feel fuller, longer,” says Aragon. The benefit: You’ll be less likely to overeat in the hours that follow your meal. What about your cholesterol? Only a third of the fat in a turkey drumstick is the saturated kind, according to the USDA food database. (The other two-thirds are heart-healthy unsaturated fats.) What’s more, 86 percent of that saturated fat either has no impact on cholesterol, or raises HDL (good) cholesterol more than LDL (bad) cholesterol—a result that actually lowers your heart-disease risk.

As for calories, an ounce of dark turkey meat contains just 8 more calories than an ounce of white meat.

How to eat it: Just enjoy, but be conscious of your total portion sizes. A good rule of thumb: Limit yourself to 8 ounces or less at any one sitting, which provides up to 423 calories. Eat that with a big serving of vegetables, and you’ll have a flavorful fat-loss meal.

Lentils
It’s no surprise that these hearty legumes are good for you. But when was the last time you ate any?

Why they’re healthy: Boiled lentils have about 16 grams of belly-filling fiber in every cup. Cooked lentils also contain 27 percent more folate per cup than cooked spinach does. And if you eat colored lentils—black, orange, red—there are compounds in the seed hulls that contain disease-fighting antioxidants, says Raymond Glahn, Ph. D., a research physiologist with Cornell University.

How to eat them: Use lentils as a bed for chicken, fish, or beef—they make a great substitute for rice or pasta.

Pour 4 cups of chicken stock into a large pot. Add 1 cup of red or brown lentils and a half cup each of onion and carrot chunks, along with 3 teaspoons of minced garlic. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the lentils until they’re tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the lentils from the heat, add a splash of red-wine vinegar, and serve.

Wikio

The Truth Behind 5 Food Myths

By: Alan Aragon, M.S.

It goes like this: A client looking to lead a healthier life hires me, a nutritionist, to help him improve his diet. I analyze what he’s been eating, factor in his food preferences, and together we create an eating plan that fits his lifestyle and goals. Soon after, he’s noticeably leaner and more energetic—a happy customer.

That’s when the trouble starts. After a coworker asks him for the details of his diet, my client suddenly finds himself in a heated interrogation. Doesn’t your nutritionist know red meat causes cancer? And that potatoes cause diabetes? Shouldn’t he tell you to eat less salt, to prevent high blood pressure?

The upshot: Myths just made my job a lot harder. That’s because nutrition misinformation fools men into being confused and frustrated in their quest to eat healthily, even if they’re already achieving great results. Thankfully, you’re about to be enlightened by science. Here are five food fallacies you can forget about for good.

High Protein is Harmful
Myth #1: “High protein intake is harmful to your kidneys.”

The origin: Back in 1983, researchers first discovered that eating more protein increases your “glomerular filtration rate,” or GFR. Think of GFR as the amount of blood your kidneys are filtering per minute. From this finding, many scientists made the leap that a higher GFR places your kidneys under greater stress.

What science really shows: Nearly 2 decades ago, Dutch researchers found that while a protein-rich meal did boost GFR, it didn’t have an adverse effect on overall kidney function. In fact, there’s zero published research showing that downing hefty amounts of protein—specifically, up to 1.27 grams per pound of body weight a day—damages healthy kidneys.

The bottom line: As a rule of thumb, shoot to eat your target body weight in grams of protein daily. For example, if you’re a chubby 200 pounds and want to be a lean 180, then have 180 grams of protein a day. Likewise if you’re a skinny 150 pounds but want to be a muscular 180.

Sweet Potatoes are Better
Myth #2: “Sweet potatoes are better for you than white potatoes.”

The origin: Because most Americans eat the highly processed version of the white potato—for instance, french fries and potato chips—consumption of this root vegetable has been linked to obesity and an increased diabetes risk. Meanwhile, sweet potatoes, which are typically eaten whole, have been celebrated for being rich in nutrients and also having a lower glycemic index than their white brethren.

What science really shows: White potatoes and sweet potatoes have complementary nutritional differences; one isn’t necessarily better than the other. For instance, sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. As for the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale, but baked white potatoes typically aren’t eaten without cheese, sour cream, or butter. These toppings all contain fat, which lowers the glycemic index of a meal.

The bottom line: The form in which you consume a potato—for instance, a whole baked potato versus a processed potato that’s used to make chips—is more important than the type of spud.

Red Meat Causes Cancer
Myth #3: “Red meat causes cancer.”

The origin: In a 1986 study, Japanese researchers discovered cancer developing in rats that were fed “heterocyclic amines,” compounds that are generated from overcooking meat under high heat. And since then, some studies of large populations have suggested a potential link between meat and cancer.

What science really shows: No study has ever found a direct cause-and-effect relationship between red-meat consumption and cancer. As for the population studies, they’re far from conclusive. That’s because they rely on broad surveys of people’s eating habits and health afflictions, and those numbers are simply crunched to find trends, not causes.

The bottom line: Don’t stop grilling. Meat lovers who are worried about the supposed risks of grilled meat don’t need to avoid burgers and steak; rather, they should just trim off the burned or overcooked sections of the meat before eating.

HFCS is Fattening
Myth #4: “High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is more fattening than regular sugar is.”

The origin: In a 1968 study, rats that were fed large amounts of fructose developed high levels of fat in their bloodstreams. Then, in 2002, University of California at Davis researchers published a well-publicized paper noting that Americans’ increasing consumption of fructose, including that in HFCS, paralleled our skyrocketing rates of obesity.

What science really shows: Both HFCS and sucrose—better known as table sugar—contain similar amounts of fructose. For instance, the two most commonly used types of HFCS are HFCS-42 and HFCS-55, which are 42 and 55 percent fructose, respectively. Sucrose is almost chemically identical, containing 50 percent fructose. This is why the University of California at Davis scientists determined fructose intakes from both HFCS and sucrose. The truth is, there’s no evidence to show any differences in these two types of sugar. Both will cause weight gain when consumed in excess.

The bottom line: HFCS and regular sugar are empty-calorie carbohydrates that should be consumed in limited amounts. How? By keeping soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices, and prepackaged desserts to a minimum.

Salt Causes High Blood Pressure
Myth #5: “Salt causes high blood pressure and should be avoided.”

The origin: In the 1940s, a Duke University researcher named Walter Kempner, M.D., became famous for using salt restriction to treat people with high blood pressure. Later, studies confirmed that reducing salt could help reduce hypertension.

What science really shows: Large-scale scientific reviews have determined there’s no reason for people with normal blood pressure to restrict their sodium intake. Now, if you already have high blood pressure, you may be “salt sensitive.” As a result, reducing the amount of salt you eat could be helpful.

However, it’s been known for the past 20 years that people with high blood pressure who don’t want to lower their salt intake can simply consume more potassium-containing foods. Why? Because it’s really the balance of the two minerals that matters. In fact, Dutch researchers determined that a low potassium intake has the same impact on your blood pressure as high salt consumption does. And it turns out, the average guy consumes 3,100 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day—1,600 mg less than recommended.

The bottom line: Strive for a potassium-rich diet, which you can achieve by eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. For instance, spinach, broccoli, bananas, white potatoes, and most types of beans each contain more than 400 mg potassium per serving.

Wikio

One Hundred Gram Carb Cure

Bench Press

Abs by Gunpoint

The Power of 100 Grams

We’ve both been recommending this ridiculously simple yet powerfully effective dietary approach for years. We’ve seen it work with everyone from hardcore male bodybuilders to hardcore female kindergarten teachers.
It not only strips off the excess body fat, it accelerates the process of health improvement by exponentially improving the quality of your diet… all with one little guideline:
Eat about 100 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Why 100 Grams is Magical

Eating 100 grams of carb a day is as close to nutritional magic as you can get:

At 100 grams of carbs per day, you won’t be in ketosis, but your carbs will be low enough that you’ll be preferentially stoking your metabolic furnace with stored and dietary fats and not carbs. Also, most people won’t experience any mental fogginess, crabbiness, or lack of energy that often accompany really low-carb diets.

At 100 grams, you still have room to get in fast-acting carbs as part of your peri-workout nutrition strategy.
There’s never a reason to skip tactical carbs consumed around your weight-training workout. Carbs taken in at this time won’t contribute to fat gain and may even speed up the fat loss process. With a 100 gram daily allowance, you can scorch off the belly fat and maximize the anabolic potential of the peri-workout timeframe.
In addition, with 100 grams of carbohydrates allowed every day, there’s no reason to avoid nutritionally ass-kicking fruits, berries, and vegetables as you have to do with 20 and 30 gram diets. This not only allows you to eat good-for-ya foods, it opens up your diet to a wider variety of meal choices. No need to live on bacon and string cheese for twelve weeks.
Key point: If you eat five meals per day plus your workout drink, 100 grams of carbs is the perfect amount. At each of your five meals you’ll eat around 10 grams of vegetables (preferably green and fibrous) or berries, then during your workout you can slug down a serving of Surge Recovery and boom… 100 grams of carbs.

The Autoregulation Effect

With 100 grams of carbs to “spend” every day, the average person is going to experience powerful autoregulatory effects, even if they pay little attention to the other macronutrients. Follow the 100-Gram Carb Cure and, well, everything else just falls into place:

  • With a limit of 100 grams of carbs, you’ll naturally become selective about the types of carbs you eat, especially on training days when you only have around 50 grams to eat depending on your peri-workout strategy.

    You’ll have to remove refined carbs and the obvious junk food. You’ll need to stick to mainly green fibrous vegetables, small portions of berries, and nuts. On non-lifting days you’ll have room to eat some beans or a protein bar.

  • Calories will be largely controlled since you’ll be choosing more filling foods. These satiating food choices, being on the lower end of the carb count, aren’t going to cause your blood sugar levels to go bonkers, which can lead to cravings and mood/energy fluctuations that we often try to “fix” with more food (and usually not the physique-supportive stuff.)

    In short, it’s just difficult to overeat when your food choices are controlled and carbs don’t exceed 100 grams daily.

  • Some people are label-reading, food-weighing, ingredient-list scanning, waitress-interrogating nutrition freaks. You know, like the humble authors of this article and many TNation readers. But not everyone is. They probably have lives and stuff.

    For those folks, the 100-gram rule becomes an educational tool that teaches them to adopt eating strategies than can last a lifetime. The 100-grammer will be forced to read labels and check out serving sizes. He’ll probably learn to cook his favorite foods since store-bought versions have all kinds of carby crap added to them.

    The 100-grammer won’t fall for bullshit “Low-Fat!” and “Made with Whole Grains!” health claims you see all over the cereal, bread, and Pop-Tart aisle. He’ll ditch the fruit juice, most sugary dairy products, pasta, and HFCS-infused condiments. He’ll become wary of those “guiltless” menu options at chain restaurants, which border on fraudulent.

In other words, by paying close attention to this one macronutrient, the 100 gram dieter will self-regulate, self-educate, and become more self-reliant. He also won’t look like a land whale come summertime. Bonus.

100-Gram Carb Cycling

You can tweak this plan even further by adding the element of carb cycling.
As mentioned above, on training days you can eat around 10 grams of fibrous carbs at five different meals and then have a Surge Recovery for your workout nutrition. (Or FINiBAR pre-workout with Anaconda and/or MAG-10 during and after. Choose your weapon.)
On non-weight training days, don’t add more vegetables and beans in place of the Surge Recovery to get to 100 grams of carbs. Instead, just remove the Surge Recovery and don’t replace the carbs. This way you’ll only be eating 50 grams of carbs that day.
So, about 100 grams of carbs on training day and 50 grams on non-training day. This simplified carb-cycling plan would easily get you over a weight-loss plateau or accelerate your current rate of fat loss.

The Rest of Your Diet

For the rest of your diet (i.e. protein and fats) there are a couple of other guidelines.
Eat protein at every meal: a bunch of eggs, protein powder, or a hunk of meat. It’s hard to screw this part up.
Add fats to each meal as well. Don’t go overboard with nuts and seeds because they come with their fair share of carbs and you’ll quickly be on the 250 Gram Carb Plan. Walnuts are great because they have a lower carb count than any other nut, and they contain the most diverse fatty acid profile (including omega-3s).
Use oils and some butter on your vegetables. Sprinkle salads with different oils or cheeses. Don’t skimp on fatty fish like salmon and take your daily Flameout.

Wait! Why Not Just Count Calories?

Good question. Sure, eat just 1200 calories of anything in a day and you’ll lose weight. Thank you, Law of Thermodynamics.
But you could also lose muscle, wreck your metabolism in the long term, perform poorly in the gym, squander your long-term health, send your hormone levels into tailspins, raid a Chinese buffet, and risk programming in bad dietary habits (“Twinkie Diet,” anyone?). It’s also unsustainable and usually leads to fat regain and rebound.
Oh, and one more little-bitty thing: the higher-carb, “just eat smaller amounts of junk food” diet plan has the highest failure rate of any fat-loss strategy ever developed in history.
Yeah, there’s that.

Mike’s Sample Menus

Training Day

 Eggs, spinach, cheddar-cheese scramble
 Metabolic Drive Low-Carb, walnuts, 1 serving blueberries, Superfood
 Salad (romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers) with chicken and extra virgin olive oil
 Flank steak with asparagus and butter
 Surge Recovery
Chicken breast with broccoli and extra virgin olive oil

Non-Training Day

 4-egg omelet with salsa and cheese, 1/2 a grapefruit (sprinkled with Splenda) on the side
Metabolic Drive Low-Carb, flaxseed oil, 2 serving strawberries, Superfood
Roasted chicken breast with spinach (wilt in a pan with minced garlic and extra virgin olive oil) and a small apple
 Extra-lean ground beef sautŽed with peppers and onions
Roasted salmon (spread Dijon mustard on top before roasting) with asparagus and 1 serving great northern beans

Wrap-Up

Eat about 100 grams of carbs per day.
One rule. Damn-near universally effective for fast, painless fat loss. No gun-toting kidnapper required.

Wikio

8 Foods that Pack on Muscle

By: Adam Campbell

If muscles were made from chips and beer, we’d look huge. But they aren’t, and we don’t—unless you count that sack o’ fat up front and dead center.

If not Doritos and double bock, then what? We decided to delve deep into the human anatomy to find the secret spot on every muscle where the word “ingredients” is stamped. With the help of Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., an exercise and nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut, and a really big magnifying glass, we found it. Eight foods are on the list: eggs, almonds, olive oil, salmon, steak, yogurt, water, and coffee. Add these ingredients to your stomach and faithfully follow the directions on the package—”Lift heavy weights”—and you can whip up a batch of biceps in no time.

Eggs: The Perfect Protein
How they build muscle: Not from being hurled by the dozen at your boss’s house. The protein in eggs has the highest biological value—a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs—of any food, including our beloved beef. “Calorie for calorie, you need less protein from eggs than you do from other sources to achieve the same muscle-building benefits,” says Volek.

But you have to eat the yolk. In addition to protein, it also contains vitamin B12, which is necessary for fat breakdown and muscle contraction. (And no, eating a few eggs a day won’t increase your risk of heart disease.)

How they keep you healthy: Eggs are vitamins and minerals over easy; they’re packed with riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, B12, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

Almonds: Muscle Medicine
How they build muscle: Crunch for crunch, almonds are one of the best sources of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E—the form that’s best absorbed by your body. That matters to your muscles because “vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that can help prevent free-radical damage after heavy workouts,” says Volek. And the fewer hits taken from free radicals, the faster your muscles will recover from a workout and start growing.

How many almonds should you munch? Two handfuls a day should do it. A Toronto University study found that men can eat this amount daily without gaining any weight.

How they keep you healthy: Almonds double as brain insurance. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those men who consumed the most vitamin E—from food sources, not supplements—had a 67 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those eating the least vitamin E.

Salmon: The Growth Regulator
How it builds muscle: It’s swimming with high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3’s can decrease muscle-protein breakdown after your workout, improving recovery,” says Tom Incledon, R.D., a nutritionist with Human Performance Specialists. This is important, because to build muscle you need to store new protein faster than your body breaks down the old stuff.

Order some salmon jerky from http://www.freshseafood.com. It’ll keep forever in your gym bag and tastes mighty close to cold-smoked cow.

How it keeps you healthy: By reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that when overweight people added 1.8 grams of DHA—an omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil—to their daily diets, their insulin resistance decreased by 70 percent in 12 weeks.

Yogurt: The Golden Ratio
How it builds muscle: Even with the aura of estrogen surrounding it, “yogurt is an ideal combination of protein and carbohydrates for exercise recovery and muscle growth,” says Doug Kalman, R.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates.

Buy regular—not sugar-free—with fruit buried at the bottom. The extra carbohydrates from the fruit will boost your blood levels of insulin, one of the keys to reducing postexercise protein breakdown.

How it keeps you healthy: Three letters: CLA. “Yogurt is one of the few foods that contain conjugated linoleic acid, a special type of fat shown in some studies to reduce body fat,” says Volek.

Beef: Carvable Creatine
How it builds muscle: More than just a piece of charbroiled protein, “beef is also a major source of iron and zinc, two crucial muscle-building nutrients,” says Incledon. Plus, it’s the number-one food source of creatine—your body’s energy supply for pumping iron—2 grams for every 16 ounces.

For maximum muscle with minimum calories, look for “rounds” or “loins”—butcherspeak for meat cuts that are extra-lean. Or check out the new “flat iron” cut. It’s very lean and the second most tender cut of beef overall.

How it keeps you healthy: Beef is a storehouse for selenium. Stanford University researchers found that men with low blood levels of the mineral are as much as five times more likely to develop prostate cancer than those with normal levels.

Olive Oil: Liquid Energy
How it builds muscle: Sure, you could oil up your chest and arms and strike a pose, but it works better if you eat the stuff. “The monounsaturated fat in olive oil appears to act as an anticatabolicnutrient,” says Kalman. In other words, it prevents muscle breakdown by lowering levels of a sinister cellular protein called tumor necrosis factor-a, which is linked with muscle wasting and weakness (kind of like watching The View).

And while all olive oil is high in monos, try to use the extra-virgin variety whenever possible; it has a higher level of free-radical-fighting vitamin E than the less chaste stuff.

How it keeps you healthy: How doesn’t it? Olive oil and monounsaturated fats have been associated with everything from lower rates of heart disease and colon cancer to a reduced risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.

Water: The Muscle Bath
How it builds muscle: Whether it’s in your shins or your shoulders, muscle is approximately 80 percent water. “Even a change of as little as 1 percent in body water can impair exercise performance and adversely affect recovery,” says Volek. For example, a 1997 German study found that protein synthesis occurs at a higher rate in muscle cells that are well hydrated, compared with dehydrated cells. English translation: The more parched you are, the slower your body uses protein to build muscle.

Not sure how dry you are? “Weigh yourself before and after each exercise session. Then drink 24 ounces of water for every pound lost,” says Larry Kenney, Ph.D., a physiology researcher at Pennsylvania State University.

How it keeps you healthy: Researchers at Loma Linda University found that men who drank five or more 8-ounce glasses of water a day were 54 percent less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who drank two or fewer.

Coffee: The Repetition Builder
How it builds muscle: Fueling your workout with caffeine will help you lift longer. A recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that men who drank 2 1/2 cups of coffee a few hours before an exercise test were able to sprint 9 percent longer than when they didn’t drink any. (It’s believed the caffeine directly stimulates the muscles.)

And since sprinting and weight lifting are both anaerobic activities—exercises that don’t require oxygen—a jolt of joe should help you pump out more reps. Skip it if you have a history of high blood pressure, though.

How it keeps you healthy: By saving you from Michael J. Fox’s fate. Harvard researchers found that coffee drinkers have a 30 percent lower risk of Parkinson’s disease than nondrinkers.

Wikio

15 New Superfoods

By: Stephen Perrine with Heather Hurlock

Your ultimate weight-loss tool doesn’t require assembly like some Ab-O-Matic, it doesn’t cost an entire paycheck, and it doesn’t even require you to break a sweat. It’s in your refrigerator, and it’s called food. The problem is that our “old American diet” has too many calories and not enough real food. So the answer isn’t eating less food—it’s eating more of the right foods. There are 15 of them in particular, and they couldn’t be easier to remember because the first letter of each food spells out NEW AMERICAN DIET.

As detailed in the latest Men’s Health’s book, The New American Diet, these foods are the cure for our old American diet. In fact, in an initial test run, those who tried the New American Diet lost an average of 15 pounds in just 6 weeks. The secret? High-nutrition foods that fill your body with quality fuel and protect you from obesity-causing chemicals (called “obesogens”) found in many conventional food products. Discover how easy it is to flatten your belly for good with The New American Diet’s superfoods. Eat up—and slim down!
1. Nuts  Nuts are New American Diet smart bombs. They’re packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, those good-for-you fats that lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes and, according to new research, help you control your appetite.

Researchers from Georgia Southern University found that eating a high-protein, high-fat snack, such as almonds, increases your calorie burn for up to 3 and a half hours. And just one ounce of almonds boosts vitamin-E levels, increasing memory and cognitive performance, according to researchers at New York Presbyterian Hospital. In another study, people who ate pistachios for 3 months lost 10 to 12 pounds on average.

2. Eggs In a new study in the International Journal of Obesity, overweight participants ate a 340-calorie breakfast of either two eggs or a single bagel 5 days a week for 8 weeks. Those who ate eggs (including the yolk, which contains nearly half the protein and all the nutrient choline) reported higher energy levels and lost 65 percent more weight than bagel-eaters—and with no effect on their cholesterol or triglyceride levels!

Plus, a recent review of more than 25 published studies on protein that concluded that egg protein helps boost muscle strength and development more than other proteins do because of its high concentrations of the amino acid leucine. And egg protein is also better at keeping you from getting hungry over a sustained period.

3. Whole Grains  It’s not a magic disappearing act, but it’s close: When Harvard University researchers analyzed the diets of more than 27,000 people over 8 years, they discovered that those ate whole grains daily weighed 2.5 pounds less than those who ate only refined-grain foods.

Another study from Penn State University found that whole-grain eaters lost 2.4 times more belly fat than those who ate refined grains. Whole grains more favorably affect blood-glucose levels, which means they don’t cause wild swings in blood sugar and ratchet up cravings after you eat them. Plus, the antioxidants in whole grains help control inflammation and insulin (a hormone that tells your body to store belly fat).

4. Avocado and Other Healthy Fats Just because a food has plenty of fat and calories in it doesn’t mean it’s “fattening.” See, certain foods cause you to gain weight because they provoke hormonal changes that trigger cravings, or “rebound hunger.” One hunger-control hormone, leptin, becomes blunted by starchy, sweet, fatty, and refined-carbohydrate foods. That’s why a bagel is fattening: It’s a high-caloric load of refined carbohydrates that double-crosses your natural satisfaction response.

Avocados on the other hand aren’t fattening, because they’re loaded with healthy fat and fiber and don’t cause wild swings in insulin levels. So enjoy the fat in avocados, olive oil, and nuts. Research shows that diets containing upward of 50 percent fat are just as effective for weight loss as those that are low in fat.

5. Meat (Pasture-Raised and Free-Range)Grass-fed beef, chicken, and pork is leaner and healthier than conventional livestock—and will help trim away pounds. A 3.5-ounce serving of grass-fed beef has only 2.4 grams of fat, compared with 16.3 grams for conventionally raised beef. In fact, grass-fed beef is so much more nutritious than commodity beef that it’s almost a different food.

Grass-fed beef contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to reduce abdominal fat while building lean muscle. It also has more omega-3s and less omega-6s than corn-fed beef. It’s the same with chickens. According to a recent study in the journal Poultry Science, free-range chickens have significantly more omega-3s than grain-fed chickens, less harmful fat, and fewer calories than grain-fed varieties. This is important because omega-3s improve your mood, boost your metabolism, sharpen your brain, and help you lose weight.

6. Environmentally Sustainable Fish Choosing seafood these days isn’t easy. Some species (swordfish, farmed salmon) contain obesity-promoting pollutants (dioxins, PCBs). Others are fattened with soy, which lowers their levels of healthy omega-3s. In fact, the American Heart Association recently urged people who are concerned about heart disease to avoid eating tilapia for just that reason. Wow. That goes against conventional wisdom, doesn’t it?

So what kind of fish should you eat, and how can the New American Diet help? Generally, small, oily ocean fish (herring, mackerel, sardines) are low in toxins and score highest in omega-3s. Wild Alaskan salmon, Pacific Halibut, Rainbow Trout, and Yellowfin tuna are generally low in toxins and high in nutrients. And then there are fish that we should avoid at all times: farmed (or “Atlantic”) salmon, farmed tilapia, Atlantic cod, Chilean Sea Bass, and farmed shrimp.

7. Raspberries and Other Berries A recent study by researchers at Yale University School of Medicine discovered that after eating a high-carb, high-sugar meal, free radicals (rogue molecules produced when your body breaks down food) attack the neurons that tell us when we’re full. The result: It’s hard to judge when hunger is satisfied. Escape the cycle of overindulgence by eating foods that are rich in antioxidants. And berries top the charts.

The berries that give you the most antioxidant bang per bite, in order: cranberries, black currents, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates.

8. Instant OatsFiber  is the secret to losing weight without hunger. One U.S. Department of Agriculture study found that those who increased their daily fiber intake from 12 grams to 24 absorbed 90 fewer calories per day than those who ate the same amount of food but less fiber. Do nothing to your diet other than add more of the rough stuff, and you will lose nine pounds in a year, effortlessly.

Instant oats are one of the easiest ways to get more real fiber into your diet. Plus, new research indicates that oats can also cut your risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, and even reduce your risk of weight gain. Oats also have 10 grams of protein per 1/2-cup serving, so they deliver steady muscle-building energy. Choose oatmeal that contains whole oats and low sodium, like Uncle Sam Instant Oatmeal, which also has whole-grain wheat flakes and flaxseed.

9. Cruciferous Vegetables and Other Leafy GreensCruciferous vegetables —like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, and bok choy—are all rich in folate, and the more folate you have in your diet, the lower your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s, and depression. A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those with the highest folate levels lose 8.5 times more weight when dieting. Another stunner: New research shows that folate helps protect against damage from estrogenic chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA), which have been linked to obesity.

These veggies also rich in potassium. Researchers at the Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, at Tufts University, found that foods rich in potassium help preserve lean muscle mass. Click here to learn more about The New American Diet.


10. Apples and Other Fruit  What makes the apple so potent? In part, it’s because most of us eat the peel: It’s a great way to add more fiber and nutrients into your diet. But there’s a downside: The peel is where fruit tends to absorb and retain most of the pesticides they are exposed to, apples and peaches being the worst offenders. That’s why, for maximum weight-loss potential, we strongly recommend you buy organic versions of apples, pears, peaches, and other eat-the-peel fruits.

You’ll experience a terrific payoff if you do: In a UCLA study, normal-weight people reported eating, on average, two servings of fruit and 12 grams (g) of fiber a day; those who were overweight had just one serving and 9 g. Credit that extra 3 g fiber—the amount in one single apple or orange—as the difference maker.

11. Navy Beans and Other Legumes Study after study reveals that bean eaters live longer and weigh less. One study showed that people who eat 3/4 cup of beans daily weigh 6.6 pounds less than those who don’t eat beans. Another study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that people who eat one and a half servings of beans a day (3/4 cup) have lower blood pressure and smaller waist sizes than those who skip beans in favor of other proteins. Imagine each bean you eat is a perfect little weight-loss pill. Gobble ‘em up!

12. Dark Chocolate A new study from Denmark found that those who eat dark chocolate consume 15 percent fewer calories at their next meal and are less interested in fatty, salty, and sugary foods. And research shows that dark chocolate can improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, decrease the risk of blood clots, and increase blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate boosts serotonin and endorphin levels, which is associated with improved mood and greater concentration; it’s rich in B vitamins and magnesium, which are noted cognitive boosters; it contains small amounts of caffeine, which helps with short-term concentration; and it contains theobromine, a stimulant that delivers a different kind of buzz, sans the jitters.

13. Ice Cream and Other Healthy DessertsCalcium-rich desserts  like ice cream bind to fatty acids in the digestive tract, blocking their absorption. In one study, participants who ate 1,735 mg of calcium from low-fat dairy products (about as much as in five 8-ounce glasses of milk) blocked the equivalent of 85 calories a day. Plus, half a cup of vanilla ice cream gives you 19 milligrams of choline, which translates to protection from cancer, heart attack, stroke, and dementia. We’re not suggesting you have a bowlful of ice cream every night. But a scoop (the size of a tennis ball) every few days isn’t the diet-saboteur it’s made out to be.

Caveat: Tricked-out designer ice creams are packed with added sugar and preservatives. Pick a single flavor ice cream—vanilla, chocolate, coffee, whatever.

14. Enzymes and Probiotics (Yogurt)Probiotics and enzymes, those friendly bacteria found in yogurt, may be the key to losing those last stubborn inches around your waist. They not only help the digestive system work properly, but also have a profound effect on the metabolism, according to a new study in Molecular Systems Biology. The bacteria Lactobacillus paracasei and Lactobacillus rhamnosus can change how much fat is available for the body to absorb by influencing stomach acids during digestion.

But not all yogurts are probiotic, so make sure the label says “live and active cultures.” Other foods containing probiotics include kefir, acidophilus milk, miso soup, soft cheeses, pickles, and sauerkraut.

15. Tea and Other Healthy Beverages Nearly 25 percent of our calories—about 450 calories a day—come from sodas, sweetened teas, and the like. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, if you swap just one of those sodas a day for water or unsweetened tea or coffee, you’ll lose 2.5 pounds each month.

In fact, cutting down on liquid calories has a bigger impact than cutting down on calories from foods, according researchers from Johns Hopkins. Instead of sugary beverages, try green tea, which is high in the plant compound called ECGC, which promotes fat burning. In one study, people who consumed the equivalent of three to five cups a day for 12 weeks decreased their body weight by 4.6 percent.

 Click here to learn more about The New American Diet.
http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/New_American_Diet_Superfoods/index.php?cm_mmc=ABSNL-_-2010_10_25-_-HTML-_-dek
© 2010 Rodale Inc. | MensHealth.com

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8 Ways to Prevent Any Kind of Cancer

By: Steve Mazzucchi
The average mouse doesn’t care much about skin cancer. Outside of Disney cartoons, you won’t see one slathering on sunscreen before heading out to dodge cats and search for cheese. But Gary Stoner, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of hematology and oncology at the Ohio State University medical center, does care about cancer. That’s why he spends his days in a lab, feeding rodents polyphenols from seaweed and learning how to shrink skin cancer-like tumors. He’s a mouse’s best friend. Maybe yours, too.

Stoner is just one of many researchers working to bring new weapons to the cancer battle. Some study humans to take a fresh look at existing theories. Others, like Stoner, are testing tactics so bold that, so far, their only subjects have tails and whiskers.

But all these approaches (seaweed included) have one very positive thing in common: They’re just plain good for you and bad for cancer cells. Here are eight strategies that just may turn the Big C into the Big See-Ya-Later. (Or, better yet, See-Ya-Never.)

Drink Pomegranate Juice
Some say this luscious, lusty red fruit is Eve’s original apple, but what the pomegranate truly banishes is cancer risk. The fruit’s deep red juice contains polyphenols, isoflavones, and ellagic acid, elements researchers believe make up a potent anticancer combo. It’s been shown to delay the growth of prostate cancer in mice, and it stabilizes PSA levels in men who’ve been treated for prostate cancer.

And now University of Wisconsin at Madison researchers have learned that pomegranate may also inhibit lung-cancer growth. If you currently smoke, have smoked in the past, or hang around in smoky places (Cleveland, for instance), the juice of the fruit could bolster your defenses.

Use it: The mice in the Wisconsin study received the human equivalent of 16 ounces of juice per day, so quaff accordingly.

Eat Blueberries
Got pterostilbene? Rutgers University researchers say this compound—found in blueberries—has colon cancer-fighting properties. When rats with colon cancer were fed a diet supplemented with pterostilbene, they had 57 percent fewer precancerous lesions after 8 weeks than rats not given the compound did.

Eat blueberries and you’ll also benefit from a big dose of vitamin C (14 milligrams per cup). In a study of 42,340 men, New England Research Institute scientists discovered that men with the highest dietary vitamin C intake (as opposed to supplements) were 50 percent less likely to develop premalignant oral lesions than men with the lowest intake were.

Use it: “About two servings daily is the human equivalent of what we fed the rats,” says Bandaru Reddy, M.D., Ph.D., a chemical-biology professor at Rutgers. Load up at breakfast: A cup and a half of blueberries over cereal, plus 8 ounces of juice and half a grapefruit (for extra vitamin C), will do the trick. If that’s too much to stomach at dawn, spread it out over the course of the day.

Relax a Little
Anxiety won’t only make you soil your shorts. Purdue University researchers tracked 1,600 men over 12 years and found that half of those with increasing levels of worry died during the study period. Talk about flunking the exam. Only 20 percent of the optimists died before the 12-year study was completed.

More anxiety-producing news: Thirty-four percent of the neurotic men died of some type of cancer. How neurotic are we talking? “Think of the biggest worrier you know—someone who stresses out over everything,” says psychologist Daniel Mroczek, Ph.D., who conducted the study. “That man is probably above the 95th percentile in neuroticism. Then think of the most cool, calm, collected man you know. He’s probably below the fifth percentile.”

Use it: To develop that critical, casual Jeff Spicoli vibe, learn to slow down your fast times: “The more time you spend in the present moment, the more relaxed you’ll be, because most mental anguish occurs over stuff that’s already happened or that may or may not happen in the future,” says Claire Wheeler, M.D., Ph.D., the author of 10 Simple Solutions to Stress. “For the most part, right now is pretty damn good. If you practice being present while shaving, for example, eventually you’ll also be more present when eating, making love, and working.”

Pop Selenium
Selenium has long been thought of as a cancer fighter, but you can have too much of a good thing, says David J. Waters, Ph.D., D.V.M., director of the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation, in West Lafayette, Indiana.

A study of almost 1,000 men, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that when those with the lowest initial levels of selenium in their bodies received a daily supplement over a 4 1/2- year period, they cut their prostate-cancer risk by an impressive 92 percent. But men who started out with high selenium were rewarded with an 88 percent increase in total cancer risk when they took the supplements. Moral: It pays to get your selenium level right.

Use it: Selenium in the body is measured through toenail clippings. Send yours to the Murphy Foundation, and for less than $100 (price varies by state), they’ll ship them to a lab and then inform you of your level 2 weeks later. If yours is out of range, the foundation will explain how to adjust your intake of Brazil nuts, tuna, meats, grains, and selenium supplements. Learn more at seleniumhealthtest.com.

Order Sushi
As mentioned, Gary Stoner is using seaweed to fight the Big C. When he fed the polyphenols from brown seaweed to mice that had been bombarded with UV rays, their incidence of skin tumors dropped 60 percent. And the polyphenols shrank existing tumors by 43 percent. Better still, the doses that produced these effects were the equivalent of only 1 or 2 tablespoons in a human being.

“Seaweed is low in calories and fat, yet it provides heart-helping fiber, bone-building calcium, and iron,” says nutrition consultant Molly Morgan, R.D., C.D.N., owner of Creative Nutrition Solutions, in Vestal, New York. “Dried, roasted seaweed sheets used in making sushi also provide vitamins A and C.”

Use it: “Eat more sushi rolls,” says Stoner. “It’s not quite the same seaweed, but it has some of the same compounds.” As a bonus, sushi itself is a great muscle food. A typical spicy tuna roll has only 290 calories but packs 24 grams of protein. Also, look for a Korean-made, seaweed-fortified drink called EntroPower (entropower.com), which should be hitting U.S. health-food stores soon.

Spend More Time Outside
Scientists have viewed vitamin D as a potent cancer fighter for decades, but there’s never been a gold-standard trial—until now. A Creighton University study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who supplemented their diets with 1,000 international units of vitamin D every day had a 60 percent to 77 percent lower incidence of cancer over a 4-year period than did women taking a placebo.

“I don’t think the effect is limited to women,” says Joan Lappe, Ph.D., the lead study author. “Vitamin D is necessary for the best functioning of the immune system—it causes early death of cancer cells.”

Use it: Nature intended us to make vitamin D from the sun, but depending on where you live, the time of year, and how much of an agoraphobe you are, you may not reach the optimal level of 80 nanomoles per liter of blood that way. A blood test can give you a baseline.

From there, Lappe recommends supplementing with 1,100 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D in a stand-alone pill every day. Vitamin D is also in sardines, salmon, shiitake mushrooms, and reindeer meat—which may explain Santa’s longevity, despite the odd hours and jelly belly.

Clear Your Air
Secondhand smoke may be even worse for you than we thought. A recent American Journal of Public Health study reveals that nonsmokers working in smoky places had three times the amount of NNK, a carcinogen, in their urine than nonsmoking workers in smoke-free joints had. And their levels of NNK rose 6 percent for every hour worked.

“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and the greater the exposure, the higher the risk,” says the study’s lead author, Michael Stark, Ph.D., principal investigator for the Multnomah County Health Department, in Portland, Oregon.

Use it: Nine states have banned smoking in all workplaces, bars, and restaurants: Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington. So change locations, change professions, or change the laws. As you sip your pomegranate juice, sign up with Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights at no-smoke.org.

Invest a Little Sweat Equity
Study after study has pointed to the cancer-beating power of exercise. Now research from Norway has found that even a tiny dose of exercise has big benefits. A study of 29,110 men published last year in the International Journal of Cancer shows that men who exercised just once a week had a 30 percent lower risk of metastatic prostate cancer than did men who didn’t work out at all. Increasing the frequency, duration, and intensity of the exercise correlated with a further, gradual reduction in risk.

Use it: Just one bout of weekend warriorism—a company softball game, pickup basketball, racquetball with your crusty uncle—might qualify you for inclusion in the cancer-free 30 percent.

© 2010 Rodale Inc. | MensHealth.com

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