Think of these foods as your shield against a costly doctor visit. Here’s what most guys buy at the store: beef, chicken, sugary desserts, and alcohol. Really: The research firm Hartman Group studied this recently. Those categories are also the top sources of calories in the American diet. Beef and chicken are fine, but you know the effects of excess alcohol and sweets. Carry extra fat and you could end up in the office of a nutritionist or cardiologist. Why not short-circuit the process and eat the way the experts do? Men’s Health checked in with six top names in health to find out what foods they always eat and why they eat them. This go-to shopping list will keep all your systems running at optimum efficiency:
Yes, oysters. These briny bivalves outmatch all other foods when it comes to zinc content. “Zinc plays a role in enzyme activity and protein synthesis and is key for immune heath,” says Alicia Anskis, R.D., L.D.N., clinical dietitian, Massachusetts General Hospital. Plus, studies suggest a link between zinc deficiency and decreased testosterone. Oysters are also loaded with iron and vitamin B12, both of which support blood circulation and energy metabolism. Try to work oysters into your rotation of two to three servings of seafood a week.
Something Blue or Purple
Dr. Stephen Kopecky, M.D., cardiologist and professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic, came up with this one, and he’s not talking about blue M&Ms. He means produce like blueberries, grapes, eggplant with the skin, and red cabbage. The pigmentation signals the presence of anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants that battle inflammation. Eat these to lower your risk of inflammation related illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
We’re talking whole eggs, not just whites. Yolks have compounds that keep your eyes, brain, and bones healthy. Research now confirms that they won’t spike your cholesterol, says Anskis. Eggs also have the highest “biological value” of any protein source. Translation: Your body can absorb more of the protein for greater muscle building benefits.
“You primary fat should be olive oil,” Dr. Kopecky says. Researchers credit a potent polyphenol called oleocanthal for fighting everything from Alzheimer’s to some cancers. Consider your supplier too. “I only buy extra virgin olive oil and get it at box stores that have a high turnover,” Dr. Kopecky says. “If it sits for a long time, it loses some of its benefits.”
“All whole grains are good, but oats are probably the easiest to add to your diet since they’re not hard to cook,” Anskis says. Two cups of oatmeal has 8 grams of fiber; that’s about half what the average person eats daily. That’s not close to the 38 grams you need to drop your risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes, so eat fiber from produce too.
Two things in life are guaranteed to break your heart: high school crushes and not eating beans. In a 2014 study, people what ate two-thirds cups a day of legumes, such as peas, beans, and lentils, reduced their LDL bad cholesterol by 5 percent. Have a half-cup serving of beans at least three or four times a week. Black, white, red, pinto, navy your body doesn’t care.
All nuts contain heart healthy good fats, but three of our experts singled out walnuts as nutritional champs. They’re paced with omega-3 fatty acids, says Jim White, R.D., spokesman, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which may also strengthen your sperm. In a Biology of Reproduction study, the swimmers of men who ate about two thirds cup of walnuts a day showed improved motility, vitality, and shape.
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