Superfoods for Super Men
Focus on the Micronutrients
Not all, but many men focus the core of their diets on macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat). However, even if what they are eating is considered healthy or clean, if this is the sole focus, often it can be dangerously lacking in micronutrients. These are all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (good-for-you plant chemicals) that practitioners believe reduce the risk of weight gain, obesity, and chronic diseases like cancer. Without micronutrients to remove waste, cells become congested, DNA gets broken, and the body doesn't have the ability to repair itself. Eventually, you get sick. Instead of only thinking big in terms of “macronutrients”, let’s start thinking small in terms of “micronutrients”. Don’t worry, this doesn’t make you any less of a man; in fact, you may start to feel like Superman. Eating superfoods is one of the ways to get you there!
The problem is that the Standard American Diet (SAD) has too many calories and not enough whole foods. So the answer isn't eating less food—it's eating more of the right foods. High-nutrient foods, like superfoods, fill your body with quality fuel and protect you from obesity-causing chemicals. Eat up to slim down.
1. Nuts: They're packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, those good-for-you fats that lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. They also help control your appetite. Eating a high-protein, high-fat snack such as almonds increases your calorie-burning for up to 3.5 hours! Just one ounce of almonds boosts vitamin-E levels, increasing memory and cognitive performance. Another incredible nut to consider is the Brazil nut. These are rich in selenium, which can act like an antioxidant, helping to protect your cells and aid with hormone production.
2. Seeds: Seeds are jam-packed with good fats, protein, and fibre. They also carry with them necessary vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Seeds are essential for muscle growth and repair. Pumpkin seeds in particular have heart-health-promoting magnesium, immune-boosting zinc, and omega 3 fats for prostate health. So take a scoop of pumpkin seeds with you on the go!
3. Whole grains: Whole-grain eaters lose 2.4 times more belly fat than those who eat refined grains. Whole grains such as brown rice, buckwheat and barley more favourably affect blood-glucose levels, which means they don't cause wild swings in blood sugar and cause 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. Berries: 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 natural sweetness. The berries that give you the most antioxidants per bite are cranberries, black currants, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranates.
5. Oats: Fibre is the secret to losing weight without hunger. Oats are one of the easiest ways to get more real fibre into your diet. Plus, oats can also cut your risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, and even reduce your risk of weight gain.
6. Cruciferous vegetables: Those like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, and bok choy are all rich in folate. The more folate you have in your diet, the lower your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's, and depression.
7. Beans: Bean eaters live longer and weigh less. Beans such as kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans and lentils lower blood pressure and lead to smaller waist sizes than those who skip beans in favour of other proteins. Imagine each bean you eat is a perfect little weight-loss pill. Gobble ‘em up!
8. Dark chocolate: Those who eat dark chocolate consume 15 percent fewer calories at their next meal and are less interested in fatty, salty, and sugary foods. 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 also rich in B vitamins and magnesium, which are noted cognitive boosters.
So, gentlemen, it’s not about eating more; it’s about eating the right kinds of food—including some, if not all, of these nourishing superfoods, which are sure to give you a little extra dose of power to your day. You want the foods you are eating to not only help you look great on the outside, but make you feel good on the inside too.
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup Brazil nuts or almonds, chopped
¼ cup goji berries
¼ cup dried (unsweetened cranberries)
¼ cup cacao nibs or dark chocolate chunks
1 cup of whole rolled oats
Place all the ingredients in a large mason jar.
Pour out ½-1 cup of cereal at a time and enjoy with some honey and almond milk!
(Tip: Leave out the oats and you have trail mix)