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The Best and Worst Foods a Man Can Eat

We rate 54 common foods, so you always know what's on your plate.

fish and vegetables

DINNER

STEAK
You know lean cuts are good for building brawn. But studies suggest beef may also benefit your brains. It's a prime source of good quality iron and zinc, nutrients key to perception, memory, and reasoning. Rating: B

CORN
Corn's a bit of a nutritional underachiever compared with many of its produce-aisle shelf-mates. At about 40 g per cup, it's also one of the most carb-heavy cups of vegetables you can eat. Rating: C

FISH
Make it your goal to eat broiled or baked fish at least once weekly. Compared to once-monthly fish eaters, you'll be 28% less likely to suffer an irregular heartbeat, according to a recent study in the journal Circulation. Rating: A

CHILI PEPPERS
A compound called capsaicin which gives chilies their bite can also torch your appetite and increases your calorie burn. It works by boosting activity within your nervous system. (Keep milk or yogurt on hand to reduce any excess burn.) Rating: B

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PASTA
So you're not a marathoner. Hard-earned muscle still needs insulin (an anabolic hormone) to supply the fuel that builds mass. Carb for complex carb, whole-wheat and white pasta are essentially equal--choose whole-wheat for triple the fiber. Rating: B

BROCCOLI
Every stalk of crunchy green broccoli contains hundreds of compounds called indoles and isothiocyanates--the nutritional equivalent of Teflon against illness and disease. Rating: A

BOOZE
Good news: Alcohol plus a steak dinner works like lighter fluid on your metabolism. Bad news: it's also a known enabler of belly fat. Compromise: stick with wine or limit yourself to no more than two single-shot drinks, minus the fruit juice and sugary soda mixers. Rating: C

OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is good for you for a thousand reasons. Here's one more: it'll keep you lean. Research shows that guys who dip their bread in olive oil eat 25% less on average than guys who choose butter. Rating: B

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GRAPES
Arguably the hardest-working, disease-fighting fruit you can eat. Not only do grapes contain resveratrol to help cancer-proof your cells, studies show they also contain a compound called pterostilbene that may help battle diabetes. Rating: B

BEANS
They're the Rodney Dangerfields of food--getting no respect, despite a rich supply of antioxidants that help to keep your aging body from rusting like a junkyard car. Although all beans are good, black beans are the most potent antioxidant source. Rating: A

LAMB
Olympic hopefuls, take note: A 3-oz lean cut of lamb packs a powerful shot-put of isoleucine, leucine, and valine, branched-chain amino acids that may delay fatigue in athletes. Souvlaki, anyone? Rating: B

FISH STICKS
Fish masquerading as "healthy." Don't be fooled: That mild white meat is most likely breaded in a trans-fat-soaked crust. Rating: F

WILD RICE
Technically, it's not rice at all. But so what? Wild rice is crammed with intense nutty taste. It's also full of appetite-stomping fiber that forces your gut to burn more calories. Not bad for what is actually the seeds for long-grain marsh grass. Rating: B

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