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Fitness column: Power foods to enhance men’s health

Steve Wells

I know what you're thinking. We're guys. We don't care about health food. But health food is cool now. OK, I'll admit, it's still not cool — but it's really trendy, and it's absolutely necessary to eat more good stuff than bad stuff to stay healthy. Besides, these are power foods, not wimpy health foods. It's OK to throw some of these power foods into your everyday meals. There are many more power foods to choose from. This is just a short list of a few of my favorites.

Attention Ladies: Sneaking the following healthy items into men's food at their feeding times will help to improve their behavior. They'll complain some, but getting them to eat power foods may be just the marketing edge you need to get them to eat something other than fried meat and beer.

Garlic: Eat a few cloves every day. It has too many benefits to list them all. It's an anti-inflammatory, a prebiotic, great for the immune system, easy to prepare and add to other foods, very easy to grow and awesome on your breath.

Seaweed: Yep. Seaweed. It's a great source of calcium, iodine and potassium. It's easy to throw into other dishes and to impress your upvalley friends. And it's a way to avoid eating any more kale.

Sweet potatoes: A big problem with the low-carb diet fad is energy loss due to lowered carb intake, among other things. Ditch carbs like bread, pasta and sugary junk and replace with vegetable carbs. This will help you back off the energy drinks and coffee because you won't be dragging from the artificial energy crash. Cook a bunch on the weekend and eat them cold throughout the week.

Vegetable proteins: Chronically eating too much meat creates too much inflammation in many of us. Don't misunderstand — eating high quality meat is very healthy — we just eat too much poor quality mystery meat. Diversify your protein portfolio with a good veggie-based protein like pea protein and hempseed protein. Slam a quick smoothie before work so you can avoid the "death by commercial breakfast sandwich."

Raw apple cider vinegar: Chug a couple of tablespoons of this stuff every day to help balance pH, improve gut health and freak out your family members.

Fish: Eat some halibut, trout and salmon and many other varieties to boost omegas and balance out protein sources to reduce the inflammation caused by a red meat and processed meat diet. Go wild-caught, of course.

Broccoli: Nothing too exciting here, but this stuff gives you a lot of fiber, water and vitamins, it's easy to throw in a lunch box, and it just looks healthy. You need more fiber and green vegetables; broccoli covers both. And they say we can't multi-task.

Soup: Healthy soup, not the junk out of a can. Make some bone-broth soup with lots of veggies. This will make it look like you are "cooking" and get some very beneficial nutrients into your toxified body. Soup is very simple to make and store. Fill a big thermos for the job site. Just don't heat it up in a plastic bowl in the microwave!

Water: Drink two big glasses when you wake up and two more before bed along with whatever equation you decide to use to calculate how much water you should drink. I recommend using the "which water intake equation works for you App" to figure this out instead of just drinking some water all willy-nilly without researching anything. You're probably chronically dehydrated, and this will help your heart, kidneys and digestion along with every cell in your body.

Walnuts: Loaded with fiber, protein, selenium, magnesium and more omega 3s. They make you smarter because they look like little brains, but this has not been absolutely proven by Harvard science yet as they are most certainly working diligently on proving something.

Steve Wells is a personal trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness. His column appears on Tuesdays. Check out Steve's blog, "According to Steve," at http://www.midland-fitness.com.