Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Superhero Diet Pt. 1

In this two-part entry, foods will be identified that will give you powers beyond those of mortal men. We derive our power from exercise and food... Real food, not that tub of greasy popcorn at the multiplex. A Marvel-ous physique and super health are well within reach; You just have to know what to reach for. Start now, and you'll be ready for this summer's Dark Knight third installment.

X-Ray Vision - Superman squandered his x-rays peering through brick walls instead of Lois Lane's flimsy feminist veneer. To keep your perception sharp, you need two key things: lutein and zeaxanthin, which sound like villains but aren't. Macular tissue-- the clump of photo receptors on each retina--degenerates faster than the rest of your eye, and as it does, you no longer see clearly.

 Researchers at Heinrich Heine University in Germany found that lutein and zeaxanthin help filter blue light, which may wreck macular tissue. People with high levels of these two phytonutrients are at lower risk of both macular degeneration and cataracts. Dr. Steve Pratt, M.D. suggests 12mg a day of the two nutrients combined, or 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cooked spinach. Cooking spinach concentrates the greens and their powers; to get 12 mg from raw spinach, you'd be munching forever.

Superhuman Strength - You can't build shoulders and biceps like Thor's unless you have a great special-effects department in your basement. But you can make the most of your workouts by eating at the right time. You probably already have the 'guzzle a protein shake immediately after a workout' thing down. And if you don't, start doing it. You have a 60-minute window for maximum protein uptake and glycogen restoration after exercise. The rest of the day, make sure you take in the calories and protein you need for muscle growth. Bulk up on lean meat, nuts, and cheese.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that cutting carbs can change body composition better than cutting fat can. In a 6-week study, normal-weight men who trimmed calories by following an old-school low-carb diet traded 7.4 pounds of fat mass for 2.4 pounds of lean muscle. Lead researcher Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor of kinesiology, attributes the boosted burn to a reduction in insulin levels. "The effects are most pronounced when the diet is only slightly restricted in energy," he says. That means there's no need to be all crazy about cutting carb calories. Just be sensible: Skip the cookies before bedtime, fatty.

Source: Men's Health

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