#10) Sweet Potato: In a 3/4 cup serving you get 31 grams of good carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and over 17,000 micrograms of cancer-fighting beta-carotene. They are great mashed or baked – just avoid sugary toppings.
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#9) Oatmeal: Aside from providing you with clean, sustained energy, oatmeal can also decrease inflammation, lower cholesterol, and improve overall heart health. You’ll get about 8 grams of fiber per one-cup serving. Oatmeal is one of the few foods that actually has an FDA-approved health claim. Steel-cut oats provide the most nutritional value. Be wary of some instant oatmeal – often it’s full of sugar.
#8) Almonds: Some guys avoid them because they are so calorically dense – 140 calories for 20 almonds. But the monounsaturated fats in almonds are a great way to ensure heart health. Per serving, they also have about 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Try mixing up a batch of granola with crushed almonds in it. You can also substitute them for croutons on a salad.
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#7) Eggs: Aside from being a major source of protein, eggs are packed with choline- important for brain health – as well as antioxidants that help keep your eyes in optimum shape.
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#6) Avocado: It gets a bad rap for being fatty, but an avocado’s monounsaturated fats actually help lower cholesterol. Use it s a mayo substitute next time you’re making lunch, or dice one up and top your breakfast omelet. You’re getting 2 grams of fiber and 90 calories in 2 1-ounce slices.
#5) Tomato: Tomato scores the five spot because its loaded with lycopene, which helps prevent prostate cancer. You also get a hefty portion of vitamin C and potassium, with 2 grams of fiber and just 26 calories. The beneficial properties of tomatoes are better absorbed when cooked; the cell structure is destroyed by the heat and it releases the antioxidant. Raw tomatoes are going to give you a little bit more fiber, while the cooked kind will yield more lycopene and vitamins. Bottom line: You can’t go wrong either way!
#4) Blueberries: A cup of this superfruit contains only 84 calories, and it has 4 grams of fiber and is chock-full of antioxidants that help prevent cancer and heart disease. Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant scores of all the berries and they rate as one of the top fruits overall. In two recent studies, blueberries appeared to help lab animals build strong bones and to inhibit the formation of fat cells.
#3) Milk: It’s hard to believe, but the white stuff makes a great post-workout drink. It has water, protein, calcium, and sugar to help you refuel. It’s also a good snack to have before bed, thanks to its slow-digesting casein proteins. Shoot for 3 cups a day – have it in your cereal at breakfast; toss some peanut butter, whey, and milk in a blender for a smoothie; or whisk up a milk-based salad dressing to go with dinner. Try the low-fat kind if you’re looking to drop a few pounds, or go with whole milk if you’re trying to bulk fat. Try sticking to low-fat and nonfat milk to avoid excess fats.
#2) Non-Fat Greek Yogurt: First things first: What makes yogurt Greek? It’s essentially regular yogurt, but strained. That means more of the good stuff is squeezed into each container: more protein (around 15 grams), less sugar, and healthy bacteria to help improve digestion. Top a baked potato or lean turkey chili with this sour cream substitute, or mix it into a spicy curry to bring down the heat.
#1) Salmon: When it comes to lean, protein-packed foods, salmon is the ultimate catch (a 3-ounce serving contains nearly 20 grams). Its benefits go beyond just helping you build muscle. Oily fish like salmon are the best source of omega-3 fatty acid, may also ward off heart attacks, reduce muscle inflammation, and keep you disease-free. This versatile fish tastes great poached, baked, or grilled.