October 2011

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2011.

If you want some insight into the food industry, take a stroll through your grocery store’s candy aisle. There, on the labels of such products as Mike and Ike and Good & Plenty, you’ll find what perhaps is a surprising claim: “Fat free.” This is completely true, but it’s also utterly insulting. These empty-calorie junk foods are almost 100 percent sugar and processed carbs. You’d be better off eating fat.

Food manufacturers
think you’re stupid. In fact, their marketing strategies rely on it. In the case of candy makers, they’re hoping you’ll equate “fat free” with “healthy” or “nonfattening”—so that you forget about all the sugar these products contain.

It’s a classic bait and switch.

And the candy aisle is just the start.
That’s why the Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide has scoured the supermarket to crack the packaged food labeling code—now you can make sure you get exactly what you’re paying for. Never be fooled by misleading
labels again!
_____

For the latest nutrition, health, and fitness news, check out our new Today’s News channel!

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Organic Junk Food

Kraft Original Macaroni and Cheese

The Claim: “USDA organic”

The Truth: It’s organic so it must
be healthy, right? Not so much. For an extra 60 cents per box, consumers save 20
calories and 1 gram of fat. They also gain 2 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber,
and 50 milligrams of sodium and they lose 6 percent of their daily iron. The
point is, even organic junk food is still junk food. Your body processes organic
refined flour and powdered cheese the same way it does conventional, so at the
end of the day it’s still a high-calorie, low-nutrient
letdown.

What You Really Want: If you must have mac,
pick one with a label that reads like the recipe you’d use to fix it at home.
Annie’s line of macaroni and cheese contains about eight ingredients per box and
cuts the fat by 72 percent over Kraft Organic.

100 Percent Misleading

Tropicana Pure 100% Juice Pomegranate
Blueberry

The Claim: “100% juice pomegranate blueberry”

The Truth: Drinks may be labeled 100 percent pure juice, but
that doesn’t mean they’re made exclusively with the advertised juice.
Pomegranate and blueberry get top billing here, even though the ingredient list reveals that par, apple, and grape juices are among the first four ingredients.
These juices are used because they’re cheap to produce and because they’re very sweet-likely to keep you coming back for more. Labels loaded with of-the-moment superfoods like acai and pomegranate are especially susceptible to this type of trickery.

What You Really Want: To avoid the huge sugar  surge, pick single-fruit juices. POM and R.W. Knudsen both make some reliably pure products.

A Not-So-Juicy Cocktail

Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry

The Claim: “Juice drink”

The Truth: Words like “juice drink” and “juice cocktail” are
industry euphemisms for a huge dose of sugar water. In this case, the product is also adorned with a cluster of other claims that attempt to hide this simple fact. (Most of Ocean Spray’s juice products suffer from a serious lack of juice; this particular one, with just 18 percent juice, is one of the worst offenders.)
Ocean Spray, to be sure, is not the only juice purveyor guilty of this sleight  of hand: Dozens of manufacturers, including Welch’s, Minute Maid, and SunnyD,  perpetrate similar nutritional injustices.

What You Really Want: Every juice that hits your lips should be 100 percent juice.  Period.

Got Milk?

Yoo-Hoo

The Claim: “Chocolate drink”

The Truth: Ever notice the conspicuous absence of milk in
the title of this popular drink? The first ingredient in this kid-favorite is
water, the second high-fructose corn syrup; in fact, nonfat dry milk does not appear until the ninth ingredient, three slots below partially hydrogenated soybean oil. As a result, Yoo-Hoo offers less than half the calcium and vitamin D provided by the real thing.

What You Really Want:
Yoo-Hoo is fine for the occasional indulgence, but for a kid in need of
nutrition, real milk will always be the better choice. Organic Valley’s
Chocolate Lowfat Milk comes in 8-ounc cartons for automatic portion control.

All-Natural Disaster

7UP

The Claim: “All Natural Flavors”

The Truth: The FDA doesn’t have a definition for this claim.
Case in point: 7UP now boasts that it’s made with 100 percent natural ingredients. That’s because they’ve switched from carbonated water to filtered water, from citric acid to natural citric acid, and from calcium disodium EDT to natural potassium citrate. Got it? Here’s the kicker: The soft drink is still sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, which can’t be made without the help of
a centrifuge.

What You Really Want: A healthy choice,
like lemon and seltzer. 7UP’s tactic is employed primarily by companies making junk food (see also: Natural Cheetos). Considering that the calorie counts are nearly always identical with their “unnatural” brethren (in the case of 7UP, calories and sugar counts are the exact same), concentrate on the bigger issues and find reliably healthy drinks and snacks.

The “Health” Food That Isn’t

Healthy Choice Sweet & Sour Chicken

The Claim: “Healthy Choice”

The Truth: A company can call itself whatever it wants, but
that doesn’t give credence to the name. Healthy Choice even provides a handful of nutritional stats-430 calories, 9 grams fat, 600 milligrams sodium-to back up the name, but they neglect to mention the 29 grams of added sugars used in this dish. The six different forms of sweeteners in the ingredient list combine to
give this less-than-healthy choice almost the same amount of sugar as a Snickers bar. Many Healthy Choice selections are reliably nutritious; this is not one of them.

What You Really Want: Dinner that doesn’t taste
like a bowl of ice cream. While fat and calories are important considerations in everything you eat, be sure to read the fine print. Companies with healthy label claims often pull the bait and switch, going low in fat but then elevating the sugar or sodium to up the flavor quotient.

The Freezer Burn

Tofutti Vanilla Almond Bark

The Claims: “No butterfat”; “no cholesterol”

The Truth: Though both of these claims are technically true,
they paint a false sense of security in the person looking for a healthy indulgence. Ignore front label claims (Tofutti is not made with dairy, so by definition it can’t have butterfat or cholesterol) and flip the package for the  straight scoop; here you’ll see that this ice cream substitute still has 15 grams of fat and 16 grams of sugar per serving-as high as most full-fledged ice  creams.

What You Really Want: If you’re lactose
intolerant, both Soy Delicious and Soy Dream make reliably low-cal non-dairy creams. If you’re just looking for a healthy ice cream fix, try Breyers Double Churn.

(Kind of) “Real” Food

Kid Cuisine All Star Chicken Nuggets

The Claims: “Made with real chicken”; “made with real cheese”

The Truth: Yes, there is actual chicken in these
“nugget-shaped patties,” but it shares space with 17 other ingredients, including textured soy protein and modified food starch. The mac with “real cheese” does have cheddar, but it also has 34 other ingredients, including the carb filler maltodextrin. Rule of thumb: If a product makes claims about its  realness on the package, be skeptical.

What You Really
Want:
To eat more food and fewer science experiments. While it’s tricky  with our industrialized food complex, stick to items with as few ingredients as  possible. If they’re chicken nuggets, that means chicken, bread crumbs, and oil. Foster Farms Breast Nuggets fit the bill.

The Cheeseless Cheese Pizza

Mama Celeste Original Pizza

The Claim: “Original Pizza”

The Truth: Ever had a pizza without cheese? Well, if you eat
this one you will have, since Mama Celeste doesn’t use a single shred of real  cheese in making this problematic pie. What does she use? Imitation mozzarella, which is the second ingredient on the list and is composed mostly of partially hydrogenated soybean oil, endowing each serving with 5 grams of nasty trans fats. Also watch out for the attachment of the word “flavored,” as in
“strawberry-flavored”; it’s a surefire sign that the product is utterly
fruitless.

What You Really Want: Cheese, strawberries,  or whatever you think it is you’re getting. If the name or flavor in the food’s title isn’t one of the first few ingredients, find another product.

The Absent Avocado

Dean’s Guacamole

The Claim: “Guacamole”

The Truth: This “guacamole” dip is comprised of less than 2
percent avocado; the rest of the green goo is a cluster of fillers and
chemicals, including modified food starch, soybean oils, locust bean gum, and food coloring. Dean’s isn’t alone in this guacamole caper; most guacs with the word “dip” attached to them suffer from a lack of avocado. This was brought to light when a California woman filed a lawsuit against Dean’s after she noticed “it just didn’t taste avocado-y.” Similarly, a British judge ruled that Pringles are not technically chips, being that they have only 42 percent potato in them.

What You Really Want: If you want the heart-healthy fat, you’ll need avocado. Wholly Guacamole makes a great guac, or mash up a bowl yourself.

The Unnatural Fruit

Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bar

The Claim: “Naturally and artificially flavored”

The Truth: While the FDA requires manufacturers to disclose
the use of artificial flavoring on the front of the box, the requirements for what is considered “natural” and “real” are not strict: Even trace amounts of the essence or extract of fruit counts as natural. So yes, there is fruit in this bar, but it falls third in the ingredients list, behind HFCS and corn syrup.

What You Really Want: An honest snack with
nothing to hide. Lärabars, one of our favorite snacks in the aisle, are made with nothing more than dried fruit and nuts.

The Hidden Trans Fats

Cheetos Crunchy

The Claim: “Zero gram trans fats”

The Truth: FDA allows manufacturers to make this claim when
their products contain less than 0.5 gram of trans fats per serving. It may seem insignificant, but 0.49 gram of this nefarious fat can add up
quickly.

What You Really Want: Keep total trans fat  intake to no more than 1 percent of total calories-about 2.5 grams per day for most adults. That means reading the ingredients list (especially those that proclaim to be trans-fat free) looking for “partially hydrogenated,” “shortening,” or “interesterified.”

The Conspicuous Trans Fats

Pop Secret Homestyle Popcorn

The Claim: “Made with a sprinkle of salt and a taste of butter”

The Truth: The taste of the butter is actually the taste of
partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which imbues on this greasy bag a total of 18 grams of trans fats-more than seven times what you should safely consume in a day, according to the American Heart Association. No area of the supermarket is more riddles with these fats-proven to increase the risk of coronary heart disease-than the snack aisles, so be on high alert.

What You
Really Want:
Unadulterated popcorn. Buy a low-calorie bag like Smart Balance Smart Movie-Style, then flavor it at home with a bit of heart-healthy olive oil, grated Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs.

Bogus Bread

Home Pride Wheat Bread

The Claims: “1 gram of fat per slice”; “wheat bread”

The Truth: This over-trumpeted claim (since when has bread
contained much fat, anyway?) tries to distract from the fact that each slice has three times more sugar than fiber. Whatever wheat that went into this bread was stripped of all of its meaningful nutrients. Perhaps most concerning, the ingredients list here is more than a dozen items long, many of them unpronounceable additives, chemicals, and preservatives. Whatever happened to
the days when bread was just flour, water, and yeast?

What You Really Want: Ignore fat when it comes to bread; there’s rarely enough in a slice to make a real difference. More important, seek out a bread with more fiber per slice than sugar and with as few ingredients as possible.

The Fat Fake-Out

Smucker’s Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter

The Claim: “25% less fat than regular natural peanut butter”

The Truth: Smucker’s has indeed removed some of the fat from
the peanut butter, but they’ve replaced it with maltodextrin, a carbohydrate
used as a cheap filler in many processed foods. This means you’re trading the
healthy fat from peanuts for empty carbs, double the sugar, and a savings of a
meager 10 calories.

What You Really Want: The real  stuff: no oils, fillers, or added sugars. Just peanuts and salt. Smucker’s Natural fits the bill, as do many other peanut butters out there.

The Cereal Conundrum

Kellogg’s Smart Start Cereal

The Claim: “Lightly sweetened”

The Truth: Unregulated by the USDA, the word “lightly” gets
tossed around like a Frisbee in the food packaging world. Always take it with a
grain of salt; in many instances, “light” is the first sign of trouble. With
this healthy-sounding cereal, “lightly” means 14 grams of sugar from 5 different
sources, all of which adds up to a cereal with more added sugars per serving
than Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, or Apple Jacks.

What You Really Want: A cereal with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving (and ideally less than 5), with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Look at cereal
as a sugar-to-fiber ratio; you want a ratio no higher than two to one.

The Vitamin Vacuum

Kelloggs Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Pop-Tarts

The Claim: “Good source of 7 vitamins and minerals”

The Truth: Five of the seven
vitamins and minerals are derived from this product’s first ingredient-enriched
flour. That’s the code word for “refined flour that’s had nutrients added to it
after it’s been stripped of fiber.”

What You Really Want: A breakfast without the nutritional profile of a dessert. Studies show that people who opt for high-quality protein (eggs, yogurt) over refined carbohydrates (pancakes, bagels, Pop-Tarts) lose weight faster and maintain higher levels of energy throughout the day.

Thanks for reading!

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by Kelly McCann | Modified for the Growing Zombie Threat by Robert W. Young

Unfortunately, there’s been an uptick in multiple-assailant violence involving zombies. Just this morning, I read an account of a young man who was jogging home when three or four zombies attacked him. He landed in the hospital with a bite wound; doctors then monitored him until he transformed. It’s definitely worthwhile to consider how equipped you are to deal with these situations and to have a plan ready in the event you’re ever caught in one.

Without question, your best tactic is avoidance. Situational awareness enables you to discern when zombie situations are developing so you can get away without having to make contact. If you notice early enough, you can move away from harm by changing direction or crossing the street. You can physically position yourself at an advantage by putting parked cars and/or other obstacles between you and the slow-moving threat.

Remember, too, that out of sight is out of mind. The sooner you remove yourself from the zombies’ field of vision, the better. Avoiding an attack is best done from a distance; once the gap between you and them has closed and they’ve fixed you in place, the situation is much dicier.
There’s a weird alchemy to verbally defusing physical attacks involving normal human beings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work at all with zombies. Some self-defense instructors claim they’ve got the magic formula for calming zombies, but they don’t. Once the predators complete their victim-selection process, nothing you say will deter them. You may be inclined to verbally engage them, especially those you remember as human beings. Personally, I don’t want to be connected to them; I want to disengage completely.

A less-lethal weapon such as pepper spray (oleoresin capsicum aerosol) works well for repelling mobs of humans, but OC hasn’t been proved effective on zombies. The spray can temporarily blind them, but experience has shown that they can still hunt by sound and smell.

A blunt object that’s used to damage the brain is better than nothing — but not much better. Why? Because a powerful blow to the head is likely to result in bleeding. Even worse, that blood is likely to splatter, spreading the virus that causes the transformation. If you have no alternative, choose a club that has some length to it — one that will enable you to reach out and whack a zombie before he gets too close. Even better, use such weapons while wearing a face shield that will keep infected blood away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Goggles alone won’t provide enough protection.

When it comes to self-defense—against both humans and zombies — I believe in firearms. I also believe they’re a heavy responsibility. If you’re not willing to invest the time necessary to learn how and when to use one, you may want to reconsider. If you’re up for the instruction, make sure it includes duress-inducing drills that ensure you’ll make sound tactical decisions when you’re stressed. There are far too many instances of victims detecting what they perceive as a zombie threat and opening fire with a handgun only to discover that they’ve shot healthy human beings. Furthermore, “spray and pray” is seldom successful against zombies because only head shots will put them down for good. And remember that carrying a firearm doesn’t mean you don’t have to be hyper-avoidant. Crack off a few rounds when you don’t have to, and in no time, you’ll find yourself facing a zombie horde without enough ammo to put it down.

Last — and least preferred — is using unarmed tactics against zombies. For all the reasons you can imagine, fighting off even one of these undead creatures while you’re unarmed is just not desirable. It can be done. It’s been done — almost always by disconnecting the brain from the spinal column. But the risk is so extreme and the outcome so dependent on uncontrollable variables that you’ve got to acknowledge it’s not a great alternative. No one, no matter how good he thinks he is or truly is, should believe he can fight off more than one zombie reliably.

A better plan, in my experience, is to pre-emptively floor one attacker — even though he won’t stay down for long unless you damage the brain — then blow through the hole where he used to be at warp speed. Use that interruption in their momentum to run like your ass is on fire.

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by Cindy Kuzma

What’s the best music for pumping iron? Whatever pumps you up, a new study finds.

Researchers at California State University, Fullerton, asked 20 guys to bring their favorite tracks to the weight room. During separate visits, subjects did squat jumps—once with their music playing and again in a silent gym.

The men jumped with greater force and speed when encouraged by the beat of their own tunes. (Music offers similar benefits during cardio workouts, according to a recent study.)

Why? It’s not that complicated, explains study author Lee Brown, EdD, CSCS, FNSCA, FACSM. Grooving to your own music helps you block out your workout, meaning you essentially distract yourself into pushing to your max without feeling fatigue, he says. Music also helps you stay engaged and motivated, the study explains.

The bottom line: “If you want to enhance your workout and get serious about what you’re doing in the weight room, bring your own music,” Brown also offers a few rules to lift by:

• Stuck trying to pick an inspiring anthem? Think back to moments that got your heart going. What song do you associate with winning a big game or your first kiss?

• Lifting and a loud iPod can be a dangerous combination. Keep the volume low enough that you’re aware of your surroundings.

• Certain tracks might be more fitting for a specific exercise. Match your playlist to your planned workout, Brown advises.

The study was published online in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

What’s Playing at the Gym?
What are the strongest guys in the world listening to? Would you believe The Bee Gees? Sample the sounds that set the mood for America’s grateful deadlifters.

What the Editor’s Listen to
Here are the playlists of the best and worst workout songs as picked by the Men’s Health editors, writers and readers.

Keeping the Pace

The right workout music can help pace your exercise routine. Keep these beats:

Running: 120 to 160 beats per minute (bpm), or about the speed of “Run Like Hell” by Pink Floyd
Boxing
: 122 to 140 bpm, or about the speed of anything from the Rocky soundtrack
Cycling
: 130 to 170 bpm, or about the speed of “Panama” by Van Halen
Lifting
: 140 to 170 bpm, or about the speed of “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin (one repetition for every four beats)
Warm-up/Cool down
: 90 to 110 bpm, or about the speed of “Black Magic Woman” by Santana

Running or Riding Wearing Headphones?
Unless you want to get flattened, read our tips for tips on listening safely.

How Music Makes You Faster and Smarter
Running with music can inspire you to go faster and longer, and it might even make you smarter. No wonder so many people are tuning in.

Picking a Player
Whether running, biking or pumping iron, we’ll help you choose the best listening device.

The Science of Workout Music
Turns out Madonna was right; music does make the people come together. Read the evidence.

You Know They’d Have a Helluva Band

Usher and Nelly can sing it and bring it. Read their stories and see if you can do their workouts.

Rob Zombie and Joe Perry are not so much about the exercising as they are about life. Take a minute and have a look inside yourself.

Don’t just listen, belt it! Boxing great Oscar De La Hoya will tell you how to knock ‘em out with a song.

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By: Jonny Bowden, Ph. D.

Although some guys aren’t opposed to smoking some weed, most wouldn’t think of eating one. It’s a shame, really, since a succulent weed named purslane is not only delicious but also among the world’s healthiest foods.

Of course, there are many superfoods that never see the inside of a shopping cart. Some you’ve never heard of, and others you’ve simply forgotten about. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best of the bunch. Make a place for them on your table and you’ll instantly upgrade your health—without a prescription.

Cabbage

Absent from most American kitchens, this cruciferous vegetable is a major player in European and Asian diets.

Why It’s Healthy: One cup of chopped cabbage has just 22 calories, and it’s loaded with valuable nutrients. At the top of the list is sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body’s production of enzymes that disarm cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer. In fact, Stanford University scientists determined that sulforaphane boosts your levels of these cancer-fighting enzymes higher than any other plant chemical.

How to Eat It: Put cabbage on your burgers to add a satisfying crunch. Or, for an even better sandwich topping or side salad, try an Asian-style slaw. Here’s what you’ll need.

4 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
Juice of two limes
1 Tbsp sriracha, an Asian chili sauce you can find in the international section of your grocery store
1 head napa cabbage, finely chopped or shredded
1/4 cup toasted peanuts
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Whisk together the oil, lime juice, and sriracha. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving. The slaw will keep in your fridge for 2 days.

Beets

These grungy-looking roots are naturally sweeter than any other vegetable, which means they pack tons of flavor underneath their rugged exterior.

Why They’re Healthy: Think of beets as red spinach. Just like Popeye’s powerfood, this crimson vegetable is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine. These two nutrients work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Plus, the natural pigments—called betacyanins—that give beets their color have been proved to be potent cancer fighters in laboratory mice.

How to Eat Them: Fresh and raw, not from a jar. Heating beets actually decreases their antioxidant power. For a simple single-serving salad, wash and peel one beet, and then grate it on the widest blade of a box grater. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.

You can eat the leaves and stems, which are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Simply cut off the stems just below the point where the leaves start, and wash thoroughly. They’re now ready to be used in a salad. Or, for a side dish, sauté the leaves, along with a minced clove of garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the leaves are wilted and the stems are tender. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Guava

Guava is an obscure tropical fruit that’s subtly acidic, with sweetness that intensifies as you eat your way to the center.

Why it’s Healthy: Guava has a higher concentration of lycopene—an antioxidant that fights prostate cancer—than any other plant food, including tomatoes and watermelon. In addition, 1 cup of the stuff provides 688 milligrams (mg) of potassium, which is 63 percent more than you’ll find in a medium banana. And guava may be the ultimate high-fiber food: There’s almost 9 grams (g) of fiber in every cup.

How to Eat It: Down the entire fruit, from the rind to the seeds. It’s all edible—and nutritious. The rind alone has more vitamin C than you’d find in the flesh of an orange. You can score guava in the produce section of higher-end supermarkets or in Latin grocery stores.

Swiss Chard

Hidden in the leafy-greens cooler of your market, you’ll find this slightly bitter, salty vegetable, which is actually native to the Mediterranean.

Why It’s Healthy: A half cup of cooked Swiss chard provides a huge amount of both lutein and zeaxanthin, supplying 10 mg each. These plant chemicals, known as carotenoids, protect your retinas from the damage of aging, according to Harvard researchers. That’s because both nutrients, which are actually pigments, appear to accumulate in your retinas, where they absorb the type of shortwave light rays that can damage your eyes. So the more lutein and zeaxanthin you eat, the better your internal eye protection will be.

How to Eat It: Chard goes great with grilled steaks and chicken, and it also works well as a bed for pan-seared fish. Wash and dry a bunch of Swiss chard, and then chop the leaves and stems into 1-inch pieces. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok, and add two garlic cloves that you’ve peeled and lightly crushed. When the oil smokes lightly, add the chard. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the leaves wilt and the stems are tender. Remove the garlic cloves and season the chard with salt and pepper.

Cinnamon

This old-world spice usually reaches most men’s stomachs only when it’s mixed with sugar and stuck to a roll.

Why It’s Healthy: Cinnamon helps control your blood sugar, which influences your risk of heart disease. In fact, USDA researchers found that people with type-2 diabetes who consumed 1 g of cinnamon a day for 6 weeks (about 1/4 teaspoon each day) significantly reduced not only their blood sugar but also their triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Credit the spice’s active ingredients, methylhydroxychalcone polymers, which increase your cells’ ability to metabolize sugar by up to 20 times.

How to Eat It: You don’t need the fancy oils and extracts sold at vitamin stores; just sprinkle the stuff that’s in your spice rack (or in the shaker at Starbucks) into your coffee or on your oatmeal.

Purslane

Although the FDA classifies purslane as a broad-leaved weed, it’s a popular vegetable and herb in many other countries, including China, Mexico, and Greece.

Why It’s Healthy: Purslane has the highest amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant, according to researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The scientists also report that this herb has 10 to 20 times more melatonin—an antioxidant that may inhibit cancer growth—than any other fruit or vegetable tested.

How to Eat It: In a salad. Think of purslane as a great alternative or addition to lettuce: The leaves and stems are crisp, chewy, and succulent, and they have a mild lemony taste. Look for it at your local farmer’s market, or Chinese or Mexican market. It’s also available at some Whole Foods stores, as an individual leafy green or in premade salad mixes.

Pomegranate Juice

A popular drink for decades in the Middle East, pomegranate juice has become widely available only recently in the United States.

Why It’s Healthy: Israeli scientists discovered that men who downed just 2 ounces of pomegranate juice daily for a year decreased their systolic (top number) blood pressure by 21 percent and significantly improved bloodflow to their hearts. What’s more, 4 ounces provides 50 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

How to Drink It: Try 100 percent pomegranate juice from Pom Wonderful. It contains no added sugars, and because it’s so powerful, a small glassful is all you need. (For a list of retailers, go to pomwonderful.com.)

Goji Berries

These raisin-size fruits are chewy and taste like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry. More important, these potent berries have been used as a medicinal food in Tibet for over 1,700 years.

Why They’re Healthy: Goji berries have one of the highest ORAC ratings—a method of gauging antioxidant power—of any fruit, according to Tufts University researchers. And although modern scientists began to study this ancient berry only recently, they’ve found that the sugars that make goji berries sweet reduce insulin resistance—a risk factor of diabetes—in rats.

How to Eat Them: Mix dried or fresh goji berries with a cup of plain yogurt, sprinkle them on your oatmeal or cold cereal, or enjoy a handful by themselves. You can find them at specialty supermarkets or at gojiberries.us.

Dried Plums

You may know these better by the moniker “prunes,” which are indelibly linked with nursing homes and bathroom habits. And that explains why, in an effort to revive this delicious fruit’s image, producers now market them under another name.

Why They’re Healthy: Prunes contain high amounts of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, antioxidants that are particularly effective at combating the “superoxide anion radical.” This nasty free radical causes structural damage to your cells, and such damage is thought to be one of the primary causes of cancer.

How to Eat Them: As an appetizer. Wrap a paper-thin slice of prosciutto around each dried plum and secure with a toothpick. Bake in a 400°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the plums are soft and the prosciutto is crispy. Most of the fat will cook off, and you’ll be left with a decadent-tasting treat that’s sweet, savory, and healthy.

Pumpkin Seeds

These jack-o’-lantern waste products are the most nutritious part of the pumpkin.

Why They’re Healthy: Downing pumpkin seeds is the easiest way to consume more magnesium. That’s important because French researchers recently determined that men with the highest levels of magnesium in their blood have a 40 percent lower risk of early death than those with the lowest levels. And on average, men consume 353 mg of the mineral daily, well under the 420 mg minimum recommended by the USDA.

How to Eat Them: Whole, shells and all. (The shells provide extra fiber.) Roasted pumpkin seeds contain 150 mg of magnesium per ounce; add them to your regular diet and you’ll easily hit your daily target of 420 mg. Look for them in the snack or health-food section of your grocery store, next to the peanuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds.

Antioxidants, Explained

The science is clear: Plant foods are good for you. And the credit often goes to chemicals they produce called antioxidants. Just as the name suggests, antioxidants help protect your cells against oxidation. Think of oxidation as rust. This rust is caused by free radicals, which are unstable oxygen atoms that attack your cells, inducing DNA damage that leads to cancer. Thankfully, antioxidants help stabilize free radicals, which keeps the rogue atoms from harming your cells.

So by eating more antioxidant-rich foods, you’ll boost the amount of the disease-fighting chemicals floating in your bloodstream. The result: Every bite fortifies your body with all-natural preventive medicine.

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by John Whitman

Krav Maga Gun Disarm Techniques and TacticsConsider these two scenarios:

Scenario No. 1

It’s late at night. You’re walking to your car in a parking structure. Your mind is occupied, and you’re obviously not as aware of your surroundings. Without warning, a man steps out of the shadows. You can’t see his face, but you can see the semi-automatic pistol in his hand. It hovers a few feet away, pointing at your chest.

“Give me your car keys now!” he orders.

Startled out of your thoughts and frightened by the gun, you dig into your pocket and pull out the keys.

“Give them to me!” he commands, and you obey.

“Back up. Get back!” Again, you do as you’re told.

The gunman snatches the keys, gets in your car and drives away.

Scenario No. 2

It’s late at night. You’re walking to your car in a parking structure lit by a few dim bulbs spaced too far apart. Your mind is occupied, and you’re obviously not as aware of your surroundings as you ought to be. Without warning, a man steps out of the shadows. You can’t see his face, but you can see the semi-automatic pistol in his hand. It hovers a few feet away, pointing at your chest.

“Give me your car keys now!” he orders.

Startled out of your thoughts and frightened by the gun, you dig into your pocket and pull out the keys.

“Give them to me!” he commands, and you obey.

“Back up. Get back!” Again, you do as you’re told.

The gunman snatches the keys, then backs away and shouts, “Now get in the trunk!”

The first scenario is a clear argument for complying with a gunman’s demands. A handgun represents a significant threat to your life. If you can maintain your safety by giving him what he wants, do it. Your car, your wallet and your jewelry are meaningless. Going home to your family is everything. The actions described in scenario No. 1 are replayed on the streets of America every day. Unfortunately, so are those described in scenario No. 2. You can cooperate with an armed assailant and give him everything he asks for — and still end up in mortal danger. The worst part is that you may never know which scenario you’re facing until it is too late. This simple, unnerving fact is the clearest reason for including realistic gun defenses in your defensive-tactics system.

Krav maga, the official hand-to-hand combat system of the Israeli Defense Forces, includes some of the most practical and effective techniques in existence — techniques that are relied on by soldiers and police officers who face armed threats day in and day out. The methods krav maga teaches for gun defense allow you to create responses that work in a wide variety of circumstances. That reduces the number of techniques you must learn and remember, which results in a shorter training time and faster application under stress. For instance, krav maga uses the same technique when a gun is placed anywhere in front of you, whether it is touching you or not. The same technique, with very minor adjustments in body defense, works when the gun is pointed at your forehead, under your chin or at the side of your head. All krav maga gun techniques employ four basic principles:

  • Redirect the line of fire
  • Control the weapon
  • Counterattack
  • Disarm

Often these four principles will overlap. For instance, controlling the weapon and counterattacking frequently take place at the same time. For you to successfully use a gun defense in the gravest extreme, you must understand and be able to implement all four principles.

In the following weeks, each of these principles will be discussing in further detail.

Use of the Gun

Students often ask whether they are allowed to shoot the gunman once they have taken away his weapon. The answer depends on the context. This article cannot define and explain the legal ramifications of self-defense and the use of force in every part of the United States. Furthermore, such decisions must be made by you in the heat of the moment, not by a magazine article.

However, sound tactics must at least include the possibility of using the weapon if you believe your life is still in danger. If the gunman charges after you once you’ve taken his weapon, the assault clearly is not over. Consider his mental state in that situation: He threatened you with deadly force, you defended yourself and disarmed him, you are now armed, and he still attacks you. In this scenario, it makes tactical sense to retain the weapon and hold it in a position where it may be used. It will then be up to you to determine your own course of action.

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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.

MORE: The 2011 Urbanathlon Workout is our toughest fitness challenge yet. Check it out and see if you really are Men’s Health fit.

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 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.

MORE: Try our Ultimate 12-Week Cardio Plan to get in the best shape of your life!

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.

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By Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S.

If you can’t see your abs, don’t assume it’s because you’re missing out on a magical abdominal exercise or secret supplement. Blame your mindset.

You see, losing belly flab is a boring process. It requires time, hard work, and most important, dedication. Take the right steps every single day, and you’ll ultimately carve out your six-pack. But if you stray from your plan even a few times a week—which most men do—you’ll probably never see your abs.

The solution: six simple habits, which I teach to my clients to help them strip away their lard for good. Think of these habits as daily goals designed to keep you on the fast track to a fit-looking physique. Individually they’re not all that surprising, but together they become a powerful tool.

The effectiveness of this tool is even supported by science. At the University of Iowa, researchers determined that people are more likely to stick with their fat-loss plans when they concentrate on specific actions instead of the desired result. So rather than focusing on abs that show, follow my daily list of nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle strategies for achieving that rippled midsection.

The result: automatic abs.

Need help planning your workout? Men, click here | Women, click here.

Wake Up to Water

Imagine not drinking all day at work—no coffee, no water, no diet soda. At the end of an 8-hour shift, you’d be pretty parched. Which is precisely why you should start rehydrating immediately after a full night’s slumber. From now on, drink at least 16 ounces of chilled H2O as soon as you rise in the morning. German scientists recently found that doing this boosts metabolism by 24 percent for 90 minutes afterward. (A smaller amount of water had no effect.) What’s more, a previous study determined that muscle cells grow faster when they’re well hydrated. A general rule of thumb: Guzzle at least a gallon of water over the course of a day.

Eat Breakfast Every Day

A University of Massachusetts study showed that men who skip their morning meal are 4 1/2 times more likely to have bulging bellies than those who don’t. So within an hour of waking, have a meal or protein shake with at least 250 calories. British researchers found that breakfast size was inversely related to waist size. That is, the larger the morning meal, the leaner the midsection. But keep the meal’s size within reason: A 1,480-calorie smoked-sausage scramble at Denny’s is really two breakfasts, so cap your intake at 500 calories. For a quick way to fuel up first thing, I like this recipe: Prepare a package of instant oatmeal and mix in a scoop of whey protein powder and 1/2 cup of blueberries.

As You Eat, Review Your Goals . . .

Don’t worry, I’m not going all Tony Robbins on you. (I don’t have enough teeth.) But it’s important that you stay aware of your mission. University of Iowa scientists found that people who monitored their diet and exercise goals most frequently were more likely to achieve them than were goal setters who rarely reviewed their objectives.

. . . And Then Pack Your Lunch

My personal Igloo cooler just celebrated its 19th anniversary. I started carrying it with me every day back in college. Of course, it often housed a six-pack of beer—until I decided to compete in the Purdue bodybuilding championship. (Second place, by the way.) Once I knew I’d have to don a banana hammock in public (the world’s best motivator), I began to take the contents of my cooler seriously. And so should you. In fact, this habit should be as much a part of your morning ritual as showering. Here’s what I recommend packing into your cooler.

• An apple (to eat as a morning snack)
• Two slices of cheese (to eat with the apple)
• A 500- to 600-calorie portion of leftovers (for your lunch)
• A premixed protein shake or a pint of milk (for your afternoon snack)

By using this approach, you’ll keep your body well fed and satisfied throughout the day without overeating. You’ll also provide your body with the nutrients it needs for your workout, no matter what time you exercise. Just as important, you’ll be much less likely to be tempted by the office candy bowl. In fact, my personal rule is simple: I don’t eat anything that’s not in the cooler.

Exercise the Right Way

Everyone has abs, even if people can’t always see them because they’re hidden under a layer of flab. That means you don’t need to do endless crunches to carve out a six-pack. Instead, you should spend most of your gym time burning off blubber.

The most effective strategy is a one-two approach of weight-lifting and high-intensity interval training. According to a recent University of Southern Maine study, half an hour of pumping iron burns as many calories as running at a 6-minute-per-mile pace for the same duration. (And it has the added benefit of helping you build muscle.) What’s more, unlike aerobic exercise, lifting has been shown to boost metabolism for as long as 39 hours after the last repetition. Similar findings have been noted for intervals, which are short, all-out sprints interspersed with periods of rest.

For the best results, do a total-body weight-training workout 3 days a week, resting at least a day between sessions. Then do an interval-training session on the days in between. To make it easy on you, I’ve created the ultimate fat-burning plan.

Skip the Late Shows

You need sleep to unveil your six-pack. That’s because lack of shut-eye may disrupt the hormones that control your ability to burn fat. For instance, University of Chicago scientists recently found that just 3 nights of poor sleep may cause your muscle cells to become resistant to the hormone insulin. Over time, this leads to fat storage around your belly.

To achieve a better night’s sleep, review your goals again 15 minutes before bedtime. And while you’re at it, write down your plans for the next day’s work schedule, as well as any personal chores you need to accomplish. This can help prevent you from lying awake worrying about tomorrow (“I have to remember to e-mail Johnson”), which can cut into quality snooze time.

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It sometimes seems as if the internal politics of the Middle East are easier to understand than the latest thinking on nutrition. With EAT THIS, NOT THAT!, you’re armed with the info you need to make smart choices. But how can you crank it up a notch? How can you make good nutrition as certain as death, taxes, and The Fast and the Furious spinoffs? Here’s the simple answer: Just eat these eight foods–along with a little protein such as salmon, turkey, or lean beef–every day. And relax.

Spinach

It may be green and leafy, but spinach is no nutritional wallflower. This noted muscle builder is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Bonus: Folate also increases blood flow to the nether regions, helping to protect you against age-related sexual issues. And spinach is packed with lutein, a compound that fights macular degeneration. Aim for 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked per day.

Substitutes: Kale, bok choy, romaine lettuce

FIT IT IN: Make your salads with spinach; add spinach to scrambled eggs; drape it over pizza; mix it with marinara sauce and then microwave for an instant dip.

PINCH HITTER: Sesame Stir-Braised Kale > Heat 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger, and 1 tsp. sesame oil in a skillet. Add 2 Tbsp. water and 1 bunch kale (stemmed and chopped). Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain. Add 1 tsp. soy sauce and 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds.

Yogurt

Various cultures claim yogurt as their own creation, but the 2,000-year-old food’s health benefits are not disputed: Fermentation spawns hundreds of millions of probiotic organisms that serve as reinforcements to the battalions of beneficial bacteria in your body. That helps boost your immune system and provides protection against cancer. Not all yogurts are probiotic, though, so make sure the label says “live and active cultures.” Aim for 1 cup of the calcium and protein-rich goop a day.

SUBSTITUTES: Kefir, soy yogurt

FIT IT IN: Yogurt topped with blueberries, walnuts, flaxseed, and honey is the ultimate breakfast–or dessert. Plain low-fat yogurt is also a perfect base for creamy salad dressings and dips.

HOME RUN: Power Smoothie > Blend 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 cup carrot juice, and 1 cup fresh baby spinach for a nutrient-rich blast.

Tomatoes

There are two things you need to know about tomatoes: Red are the best, because they’re packed with more of the antioxidant lycopene, and processed tomatoes are just as potent as fresh ones, because it’s easier for the body to
absorb the lycopene. Studies show that a diet rich in lycopene can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Aim for 22 mg of lycopene a day, which is
about eight red cherry tomatoes or a glass of tomato juice.

SUBSTITUTES: Red watermelon, pink grapefruit, Japanese persimmon, papaya, guava

FIT IT IN: Pile on the ketchup and Ragú; guzzle low-sodium V8 and gazpacho; double the amount of tomato paste called for in a recipe.

PINCH HITTER: Red and Pink Fruit Bowl > Chop 1 small watermelon, 2 grapefruits, and 1 papaya. Garnish with mint.

Carrots

Most red, yellow, or orange vege- tables and fruits are spiked with carotenoids–fat-soluble compounds that are associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis–but none are as easy to prepare, or have as low a caloric density, as carrots. Aim for 1/2 cup a
day.

SUBSTITUTES: Sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow bell pepper, mango

FIT IT IN: Raw baby carrots, sliced raw yellow pepper, butternut squash soup, baked sweet potato, pumpkin pie, mango sorbet, carrot cake

PINCH HITTER: Baked Sweet Potato Fries > Scrub and dry 2 sweet potatoes. Cut each into 8 slices, and then toss with olive oil and paprika. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350°F. Turn and bake for 10 minutes more.

Blueberries

Host to more antioxidants than any other North American fruit, blueberries help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age-related memory changes (hence the nickname “brain berry”). Studies show that blueberries, which are rich in fiber and vitamins A and C, also boost cardiovascular health. Aim for 1 cup fresh blueberries a day, or 1/2 cup frozen or dried.

SUBSTITUTES: Acai berries, purple grapes, prunes, raisins, strawberries

FIT IT IN: Blueberries maintain most of their power in dried, frozen, or jam form.

PINCH HITTER: Acai, an Amazonian berry, has even more antioxidants than the blueberry. Try acai juice from Sambazon or add 2 Tbsp. of acai pulp to cereal, yogurt, or a smoothie.

Black Beans

All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brain power like black beans. That’s because they’re full of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. A daily 1/2-cup serving provides
8 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber. It’s also low in calories and free of saturated fat.

SUBSTITUTES: Peas, lentils, and pinto, kidney, fava, and lima beans

FIT IT IN: Wrap black beans in a breakfast burrito; use both black beans and kidney beans in your chili; puree 1 cup black beans with 1/4 cup olive oil and roasted garlic for a healthy dip; add favas, limas, or peas to pasta dishes.

HOME RUN: Black Bean and Tomato Salsa > Dice 4 tomatoes, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2 jalapeños, 1 yellow bell pepper, and 1 mango. Mix in a can of black beans and garnish with 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and the juice of 2 limes.

Walnuts

Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken, the walnut sounds like a Frankenfood, but it grows on trees. Other nuts combine only one or two of these features, not all three. A serving of walnuts–about 1 ounce, or 7 nuts–is good anytime, but especially as a postworkout recovery snack.

SUBSTITUTES: Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts

FIT IT IN: Sprinkle on top of salads; chop and add to pancake batter; spoon peanut butter into curries; grind and mix with olive oil to make a marinade for grilled fish or chicken.

HOME RUN: Mix 1 cup walnuts with 1/2 cup dried blueberries and 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks.

Oats

The éminence grise of health food, oats garnered the FDA’s first seal of approval. They are packed with soluble fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disease. Yes, oats are loaded with carbs, but the release of those sugars is slowed by the fiber, and because oats also have 10 grams of protein per 1/2-cup serving, they deliver steady, muscle-friendly energy.

SUBSTITUTES: Quinoa, flaxseed, wild rice

FIT IT IN: Eat granolas and cereals that have a fiber content of at least 5 grams per serving. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed on cereals, salads, and yogurt.

PINCH HITTER: Quinoa Salad > Quinoa has twice the protein of most cereals, and fewer carbs. Boil 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups of water. Let cool. In a large bowl, toss it with 2 diced apples, 1 cup fresh blueberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt.

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You love lifting. You love the plain challenge and the simple rewards—beating your previous best and feeling a great pump afterward. And maybe you hate cardio. Devoting gym time to cardiovascular exercise feels as if you’re burning away hard-earned muscle. But you’re not—you’re revealing it.

If gaining mass is all you focus on, soon no one will be able to distinguish your traps from your deltoids. For a lean and chiseled physique, you need cardio work (relax—no distance running involved). Just follow our 5 easy steps to reveal more muscle. You don’t need much cardio (15 to 20 minutes twice a week max), and most of what you do need should be at a high intensity, as befits a man with a lifter’s mindset. But after a few weeks, you’ll start to notice less fat and greater muscle definition. Consider it the fast track to the body you’ve always wanted—without feeling like a rat on a wheel.

Change the Cycle

You don’t lift the same way all year, so why should the frequency, intensity, and duration of your cardiovascular workouts stay the same? They shouldn’t.

When you’re trying to add muscle, keep your aerobic work to a minimum—say, once or twice a week for about 15 to 20 minutes. This will limit your energy expenditure and allow your body to concentrate on building muscle.

When you’re trying to get lean, increase your cardio training to two to four times a week, to help strip away excess body fat.

At all times, alternate your cardio methods so your workout’s not so boring—treadmill running 1 day, rowing or elliptical training the next, cycling the day after that.

Separate Cardio from Lifting

Serious lifters worry that cardiovascular training will impede their ability to recover from intense strength training. That all depends on when and how you do your cardio.

Keep your cardio days and strength days as removed from each other as possible. That way your cardio won’t hinder gains in strength and size. For instance, doing a tough cycling workout after you hammer your legs with squats and lunges isn’t a good idea if your goal is to build bigger legs. Save your cardio for the next day, or even 2 days later, to rest your legs.

If you must do cardio and weights on the same day, choose a form of aerobic work that emphasizes body parts your weight lifting didn’t focus on that day. So, if your cardio choice is rowing, which works your upper body as much as it does your legs, row on a day when your weight session doesn’t concentrate on your upper body.

Whichever route you choose, just be sure to hit the weights first. You don’t want to wipe yourself out before your weight routine—you won’t get the most out of your session, and lifting when you’re tired can be dangerous.

Don’t Make an Impact

Your body has enough to contend with in repairing the damage that lifting inflicts on it. The last thing you need to do is break it down further with high-impact cardio training.

Concentrate on cardio workouts that minimize microtrauma—the small tears to muscle fibers that are part of the process of building new muscle. Running on hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete can be traumatic to muscles and joints. Jumping rope can cause similar problems.

Your best bets for low-impact exercise are swimming, cycling, and using an elliptical machine.

Ignore the “Fat-Burning Zone”

It’s a myth that you have to work out continuously for 20 minutes before you begin burning fat. The thinking once was that you needed to exercise in a range between 60 percent and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. Any lower was too easy, and any higher made it too difficult to efficiently use fat for fuel.

Ignore that theory. Your body uses more energy overall when training at high intensities—just look at the physique of a sprinter. Going all out also makes better use of your time. You can finish your cardio in an intense 10- to 15-minute workout.

Stick to interval workouts that feature short bursts of high-intensity movement followed by active recovery periods. This approach is best for your heart and for fat loss.

Choose the Path of Most Resistance

Changing the gears on a bike and altering the gradient on a treadmill, for instance, are great ways to increase intensity. Just be careful to find a level of resistance that won’t reduce the amount of work you’re able to do when you return to the weight room.

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