The Best Foods for... Everything
The best foods can make you look and feel great. The worst foods can make you as soft as a bowl of instant mashed potatoes. Are you choosing wisely? While your calories and macros matter, an equally important factor is your food choices.
Here are the common foods that most healthy, hot people are eating... and a ton of reasons why you should too:
Broccoli is a powerhouse food. It's chockfull of fiber, vitamin C, A, K, B-9, and small amounts of potassium and phosphorus.
It also has high levels of glucoraphanin, which converts into sulforaphane. Sulfforaphane neutralizes toxins and reduces inflammation. It's linked to many health benefits, such as reducing incidences of choleric disease and oxidative stress. It also controls cholesterol and blood sugar (1).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are loaded with indole-3 carbinol, which helps prevent certain types of cancers.
Broccoli is a nutrient-dense, high-volume food, perfect for fat loss and health.
It'll activate your gastric mechanoreceptors, which trigger satiation signals. That means broccoli helps you feel full without stockpiling calories like a hibernating bear, so it's a staple for getting lean.
Beyond being delicious, blueberries are loaded with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer compounds, plus fiber. Blueberries contain a supercharged polyphenol called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins have dozens of benefits. They can help treat or prevent:
- Heart Disease
- Fatty Liver Disease
- Eye Diseases (like glaucoma)
- Colds, Flu, and Other Viral Infections
- High Blood Pressure
- Various Cancers
Blueberries also contain cyanidin-3-glucoside or C3G. A key component in Indigo-3G®, C3G regulates glucose levels, increases insulin sensitivity, limits weight gain, and enhances the activity of brown adipose tissue, among other benefits.
To sweeten the pot, studies (4) found that consuming blueberries may improve some measures of cognitive performance, such as short and long-term memory and spatial memory. Blueberries are a staple for living a long, healthy, and high-performance life.
Salmon is packed with protein and has a higher bioavailability than chicken breast, pork, and beef. Wild-caught salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve cognitive function and depression (5), and reduce joint pain (6).
Salmon is a heart-healthy superfood. Eating salmon monthly reduces your chance of cardiovascular disease by 21%. Twice a week may reduce CVD up to 31% (7).
Salmon is an acquired taste for some. In this case, you can glean many of the benefits of salmon from a high-quality fish oil supplement like Flameout®.
My grandmother nearly ruined onions for me as a child. She devoured them with egg sandwiches like a lion devours a gazelle in the Serengeti. She's now pushing 90. Maybe she was onto something.
Onions are full of antioxidants and are anti-viral, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory in nature. Onions have been shown to reduce mortality rates from coronary artery disease, and they've been shown to inhibit all types of cancer cell growth, including colon and liver cancer.
They also have a handful of powerful components:
- Onions contain allicin, shown to reduce heart disease and help control blood pressure
- Onions are full of flavonoids, like quercetin, which is a powerful zinc ionophore, meaning it pushes zinc to the center of cells to allow it to stop viral cells from reproducing. Quercetin is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with antibiotic properties.
- Onions contain GPCS, which inhibits the breakdown of bone (17).
Spinach is loaded with nitrates – chemicals linked to a bunch of different physiological functions in cells, including the creation of mitochondria and the repair of skeletal muscle.
Increasing your nitrate intake improves blood flow, which helps your performance in the gym and in the sheets (9,10).
Spinach is anti-carcinogenic. Cooked, particularly charred meat, can potentially damage microRNA. Eating spinach with charred meat may partially offset some of the carcinogenic effects and restore optimum cell function.
Look, it's hard to beat great Italian food. But if you're looking for a physique-conscious way to get a fix, this is your answer.
At just 42 calories per cup – versus 220 for pasta – spaghetti squash contains only 10 grams of carbs, with 2.2 grams of fiber per serving. And it's loaded in manganese, vital C, niacin, and pantothenic acid.
From a volume perspective, swapping your spaghetti with spaghetti squash is an easy way to reduce your caloric intake while still feeling satiated. Spaghetti squash is loaded with beta-carotene and vitamin C, reducing your risk of chronic diseases while supporting eye health and a robust immune system.
These pack an anabolic punch if you can get over the snot-like texture. Each oyster contains around 50 calories and is loaded with protein, zinc, iron, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin D. And, of course, oysters are full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The zinc in oysters may increase testosterone levels, which is why they're known as aphrodisiacs, and helps maintain optimal dopamine levels.
Oysters are an acquired taste and are best eaten fresh with lemon juice or hot sauce.
For years, coffee was thought to cause a host of health issues. These myths have been put to rest, and coffee is now the most significant source of antioxidants in the diets of millions of people (11).
- Improve liver health, reducing cirrhosis by 43% (12).
- Cut diabetes risk by 11% with just a cup per day (13).
- Reduce organ, pharynx, liver, colon, prostate, endometrial, melanoma, and lung cancer risk (14).
- Improve brain health by slowing the rate of cognitive decline and the accumulation of amyloid protein – the protein that clumps together in the brains of those with Alzheimer's (15).
- Significantly lower the risk of depression (16).
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20% when consuming 3-4 cups per day.
The caveat? If you're relying on it to overcome a lack of sleep, you're shooting yourself in the foot. Caffeine blocks adenosine, which prevents you from getting fatigued. If you consume coffee all day, this causes a cascade of issues.
Caffeine has a half-life of 4-6 hours, which means for 4-6 hours, half of the caffeine you consume is still in your system. If you sip it all day, you risk impairing your sleep. Cut your caffeine intake around noon. It should still be circulating through your body for the remainder of the day.
Enjoy coffee, but don't use it as a masking agent for poor sleep or you'll negate the health benefits.
- van Lieshout EM et al. Effects of the sulforaphane analog compound 30, indole-3-carbinol, D-limonene or Relafen on glutathione S-transferases and glutathione peroxidase of the Rat Digestive Tract. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998 Mar 2;1379(3):325-36. PubMed.
- Kalt W et al. Recent research on the health benefits of blueberries and their anthocyanins. Adv Nutr. 2020 Mar 1;11(2):224-236. PubMed.
- Liu J et al. Anthocyanins: promising natural products with diverse pharmacological activities. Molecules. 2021 Jun 22;26(13):3807. PubMed.
- Travica N et al. The effect of blueberry interventions on cognitive performance and mood: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Mar;85:96-105. PubMed.
- Faber TA et al. Protein digestibility evaluations of meat and fish substrates using laboratory, avian, and ileally cannulated dog assays. J Anim Sci. 2010 Apr;88(4):1421-32. PubMed.
- Rajaei E et al. The effect of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis receiving DMARDs therapy: Double-blind randomized controlled trial. Glob J Health Sci. 2016 Jul;8(7):18–25. PMC.
- Peter S et al. A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away! - a review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system. ndian J Endocrinol Metab. 2013 May-Jun;17(3):422–429. PMC.
- Emamat H et al. The effects of onion consumption on prevention of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2018 Jan;33(1):75-80. PubMed.
- Cell Press. Want more efficient muscles? eat your spinach. ScienceDaily. February 4, 2011.
- Porcelli S et al. Effects of a Short-Term High-Nitrate Diet on Exercise Performance. Nutrients. 2016 Sep;8(9):534. PMC.
- Ovaskainen ML et al. Dietary intake and major food sources of polyphenols in Finnish adults. The Journal of nutrition. J Nutr. 2008 Mar;138(3):562-6. PubMed.
- Heath RD et al. Coffee: The magical bean for liver diseases. World J Hepatol. 2017 May 28;9(15):689–696. PMC.
- Bhupathiraju SN et al. Changes in coffee intake and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes: three large cohorts of US men and women. Diabetologia. 2014 Jul;57(7):1346-54. PubMed.
- Wang A et al. Coffee and Cancer Risk: A meta-analysis of prospective observational studies. Sci Rep. 2016;6:33711. PMC.
- Gardener SL et al. Higher coffee consumption is associated with slower cognitive decline and less cerebral AΒ-amyloid accumulation over 126 months: Data from the Australian imaging, biomarkers, and Lifestyle Study. Front Aging Neurosci. 2021 Nov 19;13:744872. PubMed.
- Navarro AM et al. Coffee consumption and the risk of depression in a middle-aged cohort: The sun project. Nutrients. 2018 Sep;10(9):1333. PMC.
- Wetli HA et al. A gamma-glutamyl peptide isolated from onion (Allium cepa L.) by bioassay-guided fractionation inhibits resorption activity of osteoclasts. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 May 4;53(9):3408-14. PubMed.