We polled 40 of the country's most respected food experts—registered dietitians, college nutrition professors and authors—asking each of them: What are the 10 most important foods for men to include in their daily diets for ultimate health? Then, as the results rolled in, we ranked our experts' recommendations.
Add these nine picks to your diet for total-body health, and check out our first section of 10 Superfoods Every Man Needs to build a meal plan designed specifically for men by professionals.
154 calories per cup
Get 3 servings of dairy per day
Yogurt has all the benefits of milk, with the added bonus of active cultures that boost the number of healthy bacteria in your gut. This simple swap will help keep you from getting sick. In fact, people who eat yogurt most often are less likely to catch a cold than people who rarely eat the stuff according to studies. And then, of course, there's the high calcium content, which boosts fat-burning and I'm full feelings. It's an ideal food for weight loss. Just make sure you're choosing a pot that doesn't have added sugars, chemicals or high fructose corn syrup. Our list of the 9 Best Yogurts for Weight Loss is a great place to start.
7 calories per cup
Eat 2-3 servings per week
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. But the total-body benefits don't stop there. Just one serving is loaded with fiber, calcium, and almost the day's worth of beta carotene, a nutrient that boost immunity and eye health. If you can't stand spinach plain, Katherine Tallmadge, R.D., author of Diet Simple, suggests dropping it into burritos, pasta dishes and canned soup.
140 calories per 2 slices
Eat 6 slices per week
We've said it before: choose whole wheat over white. Make this switch and carbs don't have to be the enemy people make them out to be. It's white flour that spikes your blood sugar, leaves you hungry and tired and makes you reach for more. Over time, those spikes damage cells and promote excess storage of fat. "Even if you're cutting carbs, there's still a place for complex whole grains in your diet," says Mohr. "They leave you feeling fuller longer, and they provide the longest possible supply of sustained energy." Just continue to read the nutrition labels; true whole-grain products are those that contain 100% whole wheat or whole grain listed as the first ingredient on the packaging. Don't settle for anything less.
31 calories per cup
Eat 2-3 half-cup servings per week
Make a beeline for the broccoli when you hit the grocery store. Just make sure it actually makes it to your plate. You'll boost your circulatory system, bones and immunity thanks to the stalks' rich iron, calcium, fiber and vitamin C content. "As far as vegetables go, this is the one I try hardest to get more guys to eat," says Niki Kubiak, R.D., a private practice nutritionist in Omaha, Neb. Have bad memories of broccoli leftover from childhood? Sneak it into recipes: Slip it into stir-fries, onto pizza, or use raw chunks as a vehicle for your favorite dip.
148 calories per half cup
Eat 3-4 servings per week
Break up with your cold cereal and give your breakfast a hot makeover. Oatmeal should be your go-to. It's loaded with stress-fighting and immunity-strengthening zinc, amping you up for even the hardest workday. And that's before we get to the boosted weight loss and lowered risk of heart disease that come with each bowl.
You'll start your day with high levels of soluble fiber that protect your heart and arteries by trapping and expelling cholesterol, dropping levels by 30 points or more in some cases, says Kubiak. Don't reach for the flavored packets, though. You'll get more sugar than fiber. Cook your oats over the stove, and if you're short on time, whip up some overnight oats so you can grab and go in the morning.
100 calories per medium potato
Eat 1 per week
A four-ounce sweet potato boasts more than 100 percent of your daily supply of beta carotene, a healthy dose of iron and a shot of vitamins C and E. These nutrients work together to protect your body against cellular damage. They're also one of the best foods for muscle recovery after a tough workout, says California sports nutritionist Kim Mueller, R.D. Don't limit yourself to eating them baked or boiled, either. Sweet potatoes are extremely versatile. Bulk up chili and tacos, or blend them into a creamy substitute for sugary pasta sauce.
83 calories per cup
Eat 4 servings per week
Tomatoes win their place on this list because of a single nutrient: lycopene. This powerful antioxidant, which comes from the pigment that gives tomatoes their red color, may actually help fight off a number of diseases and ailments, including prostate cancer. Need an extra push to change your diet? Men who have the most tomatoes and tomato-based products in their diet are less likely to develop prostate problems than men who rarely eat the stuff, according to numerous studies. Eat up!
41 calories per half cup
Eat 1-2 cups per week
There's a reason diet experts rave about blueberries. However you eat them, these berries will give you more fiber, vitamins and minerals per ounce than any other fruit in the produce aisle. Their antioxidants fight free radical, which damage cells, promote disease and trigger signs of premature aging. Say hello to a younger-looking, healthier you when you start sprinkling these into oatmeal, salads and smoothies.
121 calories per 3-oz serving
Eat 3-4 servings per week
Wild salmon earns a spot on the list because it's filled to the brim with omega-3's, fatty acids thought to slow memory loss as you age and boost heart health. It also packs the right kind of fat; polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish fight and prevent obesity, according to a study published in Clinical Science.
And that's just the beginning of the benefits. Each three-ounce cooked serving dishes up 20 grams of muscle-building protein, which will also help you trim fat. Protein is the absolute best food for helping fill you up without filling you out.
Courtesy of Men's Fitness