Tag Archive: food

The 12 Power Foods: Never Go Hungry
Meet the powerfoods that will shrink your gut and keep you healthy for life
The Power of Food
These 12 power foods make up a large part of your diet. The more of these foods you eat, the better
your body will be able to increase lean muscle mass and avoid storing fat. They have been proven to do
one or more of the following:
Builds muscle
Helps promote weight loss
Strengthens bone
Lowers blood pressure
Fights cancer
Improves immune function
Fights heart disease
Though you can base entire meals and snacks around these foods, you don’t have to. But do follow these
l Incorporate two or three of these foods into each of your three major meals and at least one of
them into each of your three snacks.
l Diversify your food at every meal to get a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
l Make sure you sneak a little bit of protein into each snack.
Here’s an easy way to remember what’s good for you. The first letter of each food group spells: A.B.S.D.I.
E.T.P.O.W.E.R 12
1) Almonds and Other Nuts
Eat them with skins intact.

Superpowers: Building muscle, fighting food cravings
Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate (in peanuts), fiber, magnesium,
Fight against: Obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, cancer
Sidekicks: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados
Impostors: Salted or smoked nuts. High sodium spikes blood pressure.
Why you should eat this?
These days, you hear about good fats and bad fats the way you hear about good cops and bad cops.
One’s on your side, and one’s going to beat you silly. Oreos fall into the latter category, but nuts are
clearly out to help you. They contain the monounsaturated fats that clear your arteries and help you feel
full. All nuts are high in protein and monounsaturated fat. But almonds are like Jack Nicholson in One
Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest: They’re the king of the nuts. Eat as much as two handfuls a day. If you eat
2 ounces of almonds (about 24 of them), it can suppress your appetite–especially if you wash them down
with 8 ounces of water. For a quick popcorn alternative, spray a handful of almonds with nonstick cooking
spray and bake them at 400 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle them
with either a brown sugar and cinnamon mix or cayenne pepper and thyme.
2) Beans and Other Legumes
Including soybeans, chickpeas, pinto beans, navy beans,
kidney beans, lima beans.
Superpowers: Building muscle, helping burn fat, regulating
Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, iron, folate
Fight against: Obesity, colon cancer, heart disease, high
blood pressure
Sidekicks: Lentils, peas, bean dips, hummus, edamame
Impostors: Refried beans, which are high in saturated fats;
baked beans, which are high in sugar.
Why you should eat this?

Most of us can trace our resistance to beans to some unfortunately timed intestinal upheaval (third-grade
math class, a first date gone awry). But beans are, as the famous rhyme says, good for your heart; the
more you eat them, the more you’ll be able to control your hunger. Black, lima, pinto, navy — you pick it.
They’re all low in fat, and they’re packed with protein, fiber, and iron–nutrients crucial for building muscle
and losing weight. Gastrointestinal disadvantages notwithstanding, they serve as one of the key members
of the Abs Diet cabinet because of all their nutritional power. In fact, if you can replace a meat-heavy dish
with a bean-heavy dish a couple of times a week, you’ll be lopping a lot of saturated fat out of your diet
and replacing it with higher amounts of fiber.
3) Spinach and Other Green Vegetables
Superpowers: Neutralizing free radicals (molecules that
accelerate the aging process)
Secret weapons: Vitamins including A, C, and K; folate; betacarotene;
minerals including calcium and magnesium; fiber
Fight against: Cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis
Sidekicks: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels
sprouts; green, yellow, red, and orange vegetables such as
asparagus, peppers, and yellow beans
Impostors: None, as long as you don’t fry them or smother them
in fatty cheese sauces.
Why you should eat this?
You know vegetables are packed with important nutrients, but they’re also a critical part of your bodychanging
diet. I like spinach in particular because one serving supplies nearly a full day’s vitamin A and
half of your vitamin C. It’s also loaded with folate — a vitamin that protects against heart disease, stroke,
and colon cancer. Dress a sandwich with the stuff, or stir-fry it with fresh garlic and olive oil. Broccoli is
high in fiber and more densely packed with vitamins and minerals than almost any other food. If you hate
vegetables, hide them. Puree them and add them to marinara sauce or chili. The more you chop, the less
you taste, and the easier it is for your body to absorb nutrients. With broccoli, sauté it in garlic and olive
oil, and douse it with hot sauce.
4) Dairy Products
Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage

Superpowers: Building strong bones, firing up
weight loss
Secret weapons: Calcium, vitamins A and B12,
riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium
Fight against: Osteoporosis, obesity, high blood
pressure, cancer
Sidekicks: None
Impostors: Whole milk, frozen yogurt
Why you should eat this?
Dairy is nutrition’s version of a typecast actor. It gets so much good press for strengthening bones that it
garners little attention for all the other stuff it does well. Just take a look at the mounting evidence that
calcium is a prime belly-buster. A University of Tennessee study found that dieters who consumed
between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day lost nearly twice as much weight as those taking in
less calcium. Researchers think the mineral probably prevents weight gain by increasing the breakdown of
body fat and hampering its formation. Low-fat yogurt, cheeses, and other dairy products can play a key
role in your diet. But I recommend milk as your major source of calcium. Liquids take up lots of room in
your stomach, so your brain gets the signal that you’re full. Sprinkling in chocolate whey powder can help
curb sweet cravings.
5) Instant Oatmeal
Unsweetened, unflavored.
Superpowers: Boosting energy and sex drive, reducing
cholesterol, maintaining blood-sugar levels
Secret weapons: Complex carbohydrates and fiber
Fights against: Heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, obesity
Sidekicks: High-fiber cereals like All-Bran and Fiber One
Impostors: Sugary cereals
Why you should eat this?
Oatmeal is the Bo Derek of your pantry: It’s a perfect 10. You can eat it at breakfast to propel you
through sluggish mornings, a couple of hours before a workout to feel fully energized by the time you hit
the weights, or at night to avoid a late-night binge. I recommend instant oatmeal for its convenience. But
I want you to buy the unsweetened, unflavored variety and use other Powerfoods such as milk and
berries to enhance the taste. Preflavored oatmeal often comes loaded with sugar calories. Oatmeal
contains soluble fiber, meaning that it attracts fluid and stays in your stomach longer than insoluble fiber
(like vegetables). Soluble fiber is thought to reduce blood cholesterol by binding with digestive acids made
from cholesterol and sending them out of your body. When this happens, your liver has to pull cholesterol
from your blood to make more digestive acids, and your bad cholesterol levels drop.
Trust me:
You need more fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Doctors recommend we get between 25 and 35 grams
of fiber per day, but most of us get half that. Fiber is like a bouncer for your body, kicking out
troublemakers and showing them the door. It protects you from heart disease. It protects you from colon
cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the intestines quickly.
A Penn State study also showed that oatmeal sustains your blood sugar levels longer than many other
foods, which keeps your insulin levels stable and ensures you won’t be ravenous for the few hours that
follow. That’s good, because spikes in the production of insulin slow your metabolism and send a signal to
the body that it’s time to start storing fat. Since oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, it causes
less of a spike in insulin levels than foods like bagels. Include it in a smoothie or as your breakfast. (A U.
S. Navy study showed that simply eating breakfast raised metabolism by 10 percent.)
Another cool fact about oatmeal:
Preliminary studies indicate that oatmeal raises the levels of free testosterone in your body, enhancing
your body’s ability to build muscle and burn fat and boosting your sex drive.
6) Eggs
Superpowers: Building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, vitamins A and B12
Fight against: Obesity
Sidekicks: Egg Beaters, which have fewer
calories than eggs and no fat, but just as much of
the core nutrients
Impostors: None
Why you should eat
For a long time, eggs were considered pure evil, and doctors were more likely to recommend tossing eggs
at passing cars than throwing them into omelette pans. That’s because just two eggs contain enough
cholesterol to put you over your daily recommended value. Though you can cut out some of that by
removing part of the yolk and using the white, more and more research shows that eating an egg or two
a day will not raise your cholesterol levels. In fact, we’ve learned that most blood cholesterol is made by
the body from dietary fat, not dietary cholesterol. That’s why you should take advantage of eggs and their
powerful makeup of protein. The protein found in eggs has the highest “biological value” of protein — a
measure of how well it supports your body’s protein need — of any food. In other words, the protein in
eggs is more effective at building muscle than protein from other sources, even milk and beef. Eggs also
contain vitamin B12, which is necessary for fat breakdown.
7) Turkey and Other Lean Meats
Lean steak, chicken, fish.
Superpowers: Building muscle, improving the
immune system
Secret weapons: Protein, iron, zinc, creatine
(beef), omega-3 fatty acids (fish), vitamins B6
(chicken and fish) and B12, phosphorus,
Fight against: Obesity, mood disorders, memory
loss, heart disease
Sidekicks: Shellfish, Canadian bacon, omega-3
rich flaxseed
Impostors: Sausage, bacon, cured meats, ham,
fatty cuts of steak like T-bone and rib eye
Why you should eat this?
A classic muscle-building nutrient, protein is the base of any solid diet plan. Turkey breast is one of the
leanest meats you’ll find, and it packs nearly one-third of your daily requirements of niacin and vitamin
B6. Dark meat, if you prefer, has lots of zinc and iron. One caution, though: If you’re roasting a whole
turkey for a family feast, avoid self-basting birds, which have been injected wth fat.
Beef is another classic muscle-building protein.
It’s the top food source for creatine — the substance your body uses when you lift weights. Beef does
have a downside; it contains saturated fats, but some cuts have more than others. Look for rounds or
loins (that’s code for extra-lean); sirloins and New York strips are less fatty than prime ribs and T-bones.
To cut down on saturated fats even more, concentrate on fish like tuna and salmon, because they contain
a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein. Those fatty acids lower levels of a hormone
called leptin in your body. Several recent studies suggest that leptin directly influences your metabolism:
The higher your leptin levels, the more readily your body stores calories as fat. Researchers at the
University of Wisconsin found that mice with low leptin levels have faster metabolisms and are able to
burn fat faster than animals with higher leptin levels. Mayo Clinic researchers studying the diets of two
African tribes found that the tribe that ate fish frequently had leptin levels nearly five times lower than the
tribe that primarily ate vegetables.
A bonus benefit:
Researchers in Stockholm found that men who ate no fish had three times the risk of prostate cancer of
those who ate it regularly. It’s the omega-3s that inhibit prostate-cancer growth.
8) Peanut Butter
All-natural, sugar-free.
Superpowers: Boosting testosterone, building
muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fat,
vitamin E, niacin, magnesium
Fights against: Obesity, muscle loss, wrinkles,
cardiovascular disease
Sidekicks: Cashew and almond butters
Impostors: Mass-produced sugary and trans
fatty peanut butters
Why you should eat this?
Yes, PB has its disadvantages: It’s high in calories, and it doesn’t go over well when you order it in four star restaurants. But it’s packed with those heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that can increase your
body’s production of testosterone, which can help your muscles grow and your fat melt. In one 18-month
experiment, people who integrated peanut butter into their diet maintained weight loss better than those
on low-fat plans. A recent study from the University of Illinois showed that diners who had
monounsaturated fats before a meal (in this case, it was olive oil) ate 25 percent fewer calories during
that meal than those who didn’t.
Practically speaking, PB also works because it’s a quick and versatile snack — and it tastes
Since a diet that includes an indulgence like peanut butter doesn’t leave you feeling deprived, it’s easier to
follow and won’t make you fall prey to other cravings. Use it on an apple, on the go, or to add flavor to
potentially bland smoothies. Two caveats: You can’t gorge on it because of its fat content; limit yourself
to about 3 tablespoons per day. And you should look for all-natural peanut butter, not the mass-produced
brands that have added sugar.
9) Olive Oil
Superpowers: Lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system
Secret weapons: Monounsaturated fat, vitamin E
Fights against: Obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood
Sidekicks: Canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil
Impostors: Other vegetable and hydrogenated vegetable oils,
trans fatty acids, margarine
Why you should include this?
No need for a long explanation here: Olive oil and its brethren will
help control your food cravings; they’ll also help you burn fat and
keep your cholesterol in check. Do you need any more reason to
pass the bottle?
10) Whole-Grain Breads and Cereals
Superpowers: Preventing your body from storing fat
Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium,zinc

Fight against: Obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease
Sidekicks: Brown rice, whole-wheat pretzels,
whole-wheat pastas
Impostors: Processed bakery products like white
bread, bagels, and doughnuts; breads labeled
wheat instead of whole wheat
Why you should eat
There’s only so long a person can survive on an
all-protein diet or an all-salad diet or an allanything
diet. You crave carbohydrates because your body needs them. The key is to eat the ones that
have been the least processed — carbs that still have all their heart-healthy, belly-busting fiber intact.
Grains like wheat, corn, oats, barley, and rye are seeds that come from grasses, and they’re broken into
three parts — the germ, the bran, and the endosperm. Think of a kernel of corn. The biggest part of the
kernel — the part that blows up when you make popcorn — is the endosperm. Nutritionally it’s pretty
much a big dud. It contains starch, a little protein, and some B vitamins. The germ is the smallest part of
the grain; in the corn kernel, it’s that little white seedlike thing. But while it’s small, it packs the most
nutritional power. It contains protein, oils, and the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine. It
also has vitamin E and the minerals magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron. The bran is the third part of
the grain and the part where all the fiber is stored. It’s a coating around the endosperm that contains B
vitamins, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals.
So what’s the point of this little biology lesson?
Well, get this: When food manufacturers process and refine grains, guess which two parts get tossed out?
Yup, the bran, where all the fiber and minerals are, and the germ, where all the protein and vitamins are.
And what they keep — the nutritionally bankrupt endosperm (that is, starch) — gets made into pasta,
bagels, white bread, white rice, and just about every other wheat product and baked good you’ll find.
Crazy, right? But if you eat products made with all the parts of the grain — whole-grain bread, pasta, longgrain
rice — you get all the nutrition that food manufacturers are otherwise trying to cheat you out of.
Whole-grain carbohydrates can play an important role in a healthy lifestyle.
In an 11-year study of 16,000 middle-age people, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that
consuming three daily servings of whole grains can reduce a person’s mortality risk over the course of a
decade by 23 percent. (Tell that to your buddy who’s eating low-carb.) Whole-grain bread keeps insulin levels low, which keeps you from storing fat. In this diet, it’s especially versatile because it’ll supplement
any kind of meal with little prep time. Toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, with a dab of peanut
butter for a snack. Don’t believe the hype. Carbs — the right kind of carbs — are good for you. Warning:
Food manufacturers are very sneaky. Sometimes, after refining away all the vitamins, fiber, and minerals
from wheat, they’ll add molasses to the bread, turning it brown, and put it on the grocery shelf with a
label that says wheat bread. It’s a trick! Truly nutritious breads and other products will say whole-wheat
or whole-grain. Don’t be fooled.
11) Extra-Protein (Whey) Powder
Superpowers: Building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, cysteine, glutathione
Fights against: Obesity
Sidekick: Ricotta cheese
Impostor: Soy protein
Why you should eat this?
Protein powder? What the heck is that? It’s the only Abs Diet
Powerfood that you may not be able to find at the
supermarket, but it’s the one that’s worth the trip to a health
food store. I’m talking about powdered whey protein, a type of
animal protein that packs a muscle-building wallop. If you add
whey powder to your meal — in a smoothie, for instance — you
may very well have created the most powerful fat-burning meal
possible. Whey protein is a high-quality protein that contains essential amino acids that build muscle and
burn fat. But it’s especially effective because it has the highest amount of protein for the fewest number
of calories, making it fat’s kryptonite. Smoothies with some whey powder can be most effective before a
workout. A 2001 study at the University of Texas found that lifters who drank a shake containing amino
acids and carbohydrates before working out increased their protein synthesis (their ability to build muscle)
more than lifters who drank the same shake after exercising. Since exercise increases bloodflow to
tissues, the theory goes that having whey protein in your system when you work out may lead to a
greater uptake of amino acids — the building blocks of muscle — in your muscle. But that’s not all. Whey
protein can help protect your body from prostate cancer. Whey is a good source of cysteine, which your
body uses to build a prostate cancer–fighting antioxidant called glutathione. Adding just a small amount
may increase glutathione levels in your body by up to 60 percent. By the way, the one great source of
whey protein in your supermarket is ricotta cheese. Unlike other cheeses, which are made from milk curd,
ricotta is made from whey — a good reason to visit your local Italian eatery.
12) Raspberries and Other Berries
Superpowers: Protecting your heart, enhancing
eyesight, improving memory, preventing cravings
Secret weapons: Antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C,
tannins (cranberries)
Fight against: Heart disease, cancer, obesity
Sidekicks: Most other fruits, especially apples
and grapefruit
Impostors: Sugary jellies
Why you should eat this?
Depending on your taste, any berry will do (except Crunch Berries). I like raspberries as much for their
power as for their taste. They carry powerful levels of antioxidants, all-purpose compounds that help your
body fight heart disease and cancer; the berries’ flavonoids may also help your eyesight, balance,
coordination, and short-term memory. One cup of raspberries packs 6 grams of fiber and more than half
of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Blueberries are also loaded with the soluble fiber that, like
oatmeal, keeps you fuller longer. In fact, they’re one of the most healthful foods you can eat. Blueberries
beat out 39 other fruits and vegetables in the antioxidant power ratings. (One study also found that rats
that ate blueberries were more coordinated and smarter than rats that didn’t.) Strawberries contain
another valuable form of fiber called pectin (as do grapefruits, peaches, apples, and oranges). In a study
from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, subjects drank plain orange juice or juice spiked
with pectin. The people who got the loaded juice felt fuller after drinking it than those who got the juice
without the pectin. The difference lasted for an impressive 4 hours.


Inflammatory Foods

“inflammatory foods” These are the foods that should be avoided in order to avoid bloating:

Wheat products
juices (only fresh squeezed is acceptable)
Black walnuts
Red fatty meats, of course
tomatoes (my favorite) these are marginable so you can consume them more often.

Foods you should consume to help reduce inflammation are:

Omega 3’s – fish or fish oil
Olives and Olive Oil
Berries (all kinds)
Green leafy vegetables
Lean Meats

In order to gain solid muscle weight bodybuilders need more food, more often.

Don’t gorge yourself, but be prepared to eat and train hard. Protein from red meat, poultry and fish build muscle most effectively. Milk by the quarts, containers of cottage cheese and lots of eggs will add significantly to your muscle bulk and power building.

Whole grain breads, cereals and muffins work well for carbohydrate and fiber intake, while potatoes, rice and pasta are the most stable and popular sources of carbs. They burn clean, and with intense bodybuilding training they’re not likely to store as bodyfat. Bring on the vegetables of your choice, variety here is good. Complex carbs, fiber abundant, vitamins, minerals and exotic micro nutrients lurk in these foods.

Between meals shakes of  protein, plus peanut butter and bananas are convenient and powerful ways to add to your positive calorie count.