Style Strategies



1.  How should I express myself in an office setting?

The CEOs Say . . .

58% patterned neckwear and shirts

15% jewelry (rings, earrings, bracelets)

15% cuff links

5% whimsical neckwear

"Having great style is something people notice over the course of time. But having bad style is noticed immediately." —Brett Fahlgren, director of special events, Prada

Match Colors, Mix Patterns

Your shirt and tie should share a shade. But if you're going to match patterns, "make sure they're a different scale," says Lynne Marks, president of Atlanta's London Image Institute. "For example, choose a larger pattern for your tie while keeping the shirt reserved."

Avoid Pattern Blindness

Your shirt and tie are the palette from which you paint the colors of your soul. Just keep the palette small. "A large pattern is far more casual than a small one, so if you work in a conservative office, stick to small checks and pinstripes," says Marks.

Go Light on the Bling

Just because you're the king of accounting doesn't mean you need to wear a diamond-studded tie clip. In addition to a dress watch and a stylish belt, "a nice signet ring or wedding ring is all you should wear," says Marks.

2. What's the most important accessory for a new hire?

The CEOs say . . .

50% well-polished shoes

18% a smart attache case

15% an elegant  watch

8% matching belt and shoes

"Who wants a sloppy employee in an era when you can go to jail for reporting incorrect financial data?"  —Tom Markert, global chief of marketing, ACNielsen

Shine with Spit

"It's that old military concept: Spit, polish, and repeat," says New York City shoemaker Warren Edwards. "You want to rub the polish in a circular motion—don't just slap it all over the shoe—then add some water and really polish hard."

Cut the Cream

Wax-based polishes last longer. "Any wax will work better than the sponge-on liquid polish that everyone is selling these days," says Edwards. Select a brush with long, sturdy bristles.

Store with Care

"Shoes will develop creases and the toes will turn up if you don't store them on trees," says Edwards. "Shoes are made on the principle of stretching leather. If you don't guide them back into place after they've been wet or you've worn them all day, they'll deform."

3. What should I wear to dinner with a client?

The CEOs say . . .

35% trousers, a dress shirt, and a sport coat

28% a suit and tie

28% jeans, a sport coat, and a dress shirt

8% a leather jacket, trousers, and a dress shirt

"Everybody wonders at some point whether they're going to be overdressed or underdressed. It's not some taboo discussion. Just ask." —Mike Fasulo, chief marketing officer, Sony Electronics

Lighten Up

Unless you live in New York City or Berlin, wear blue or gray sport coats instead of black, says Michelle Sterling, of Global Image Group, an image consulting firm. "Black is too formal for business and can put people off," she says.

Frame Your Face

If you're opting for the open-collar look, be careful about your choice of shirt. Wide, round faces look best with long, pointed collars, and narrow faces require wider, spread collars. In between? Go either way.

Pick the Right Kicks

Basic loafers won't cut it with a suit or dressy trousers; wingtips and cap-toe shoes can be too dressy for khakis and cords. Your utility infielder: leather lace-ups. Look for a classic oxford style, says Molina.

4. How should I dress for a creative workplace?

The CEOs say . . .

36% trousers, a shirt, and a sweater

23% a suit, dress shirt, and tie

23% jeans, a shirt, and a sport coat

5% casual pants and a t-shirt

"It doesn't matter if you're working at a law firm or a rock club. Your image should be in step with the firm's attitudes and beliefs. Your clothes are part of your resume." —Steve Tetrault, president, Tetrault Design Associates

Don't Dress Down

Just because you can get away with a T-shirt and flip-flops doesn't mean you should. The more casual the dress code, the greater the opportunity to showcase smart clothing choices. One option: Add a navy or black soft-shouldered sport jacket to a pair of jeans and a white dress shirt.

Play It Straight

Business casual doesn't mean you can lose your dry cleaner's number. "Even wrinkle-free clothes look bad if you don't take them out of the dryer fast enough," says Pat Newquist, president of Bonus tip: Install a hook in your office to hang your discarded layers during the day.

Hide Your Pits

If your company allows you to rock a golf or polo shirt, look for one with banded sleeves. This extra detail looks cleaner and more finished, and prevents your coworkers from ogling your pit hair, should you raise your arms above your chest.

5. What should I wear to an awards event?

The CEOs say . . .

75% a suit, dress shirt, and tie

10% trousers, a button-down shirt, and a sport coat

8% a suit and dress shirt

5% a tuxedo

"Attitude is important. Some people can't be convincing in French cuffs and a Gucci suit. You have to be able to pull off what you're wearing." —Tim Story, director of Fantastic Four  

Stay Fresh

If it's an annual event, spring for a crisp, new white dress shirt. "They get dingy and yellow when you wear them on a regular basis," says Elena Castaneda, president of New York Image Consulting. To add a little color, go for light blue. Skip black unless you're Marilyn Manson or a Johnny Cash wannabe.

Lose Some Buttons

The more buttons, the dressier the suit—and the stuffier the look. One- and two-button suits are formal yet fashionable. If you do choose a three-button suit (the upper limit), never close the bottom button; whether you button just the top, just the middle, or both the top and middle buttons is up to you.

Tie It Right

"Wear a silver or champagne-colored satin tie for formal events," says Sterling. Use a fat knot, such as a Windsor. For wild ties, make sure the pattern size matches your body scale. "If you have medium-size features, wear medium-size patterns, and so on," she says.

6. What's the most acceptable look for casual Fridays?

The CEOs say . . .

46% jeans and a button-down shirt

24% khakis, a polo shirt, and a sweater

10% a suit jacket, a collared shirt, and jeans

10% trousers, a collared shirt, and a sport coat

"If you look like you're ready to paint a house or repair a leaky roof, chances are you're a little too relaxed for the workplace." —David Beigie, vice president of corporate communications, T-Mobile USA

Choose the Right Jeans

Dark washes are more formal than lighter washes. The distressed look—holes, frayed edges, questionable discolorations around the groin—screams rock star, not rising star. Jeans should be pressed and smooth, even if it's just with a hand steamer.

Throw in a Formal Touch

"A pressed, long-sleeved shirt will add a layer of respect," says Rachel Dee, a Denver-based image consultant. Leave your clubbing shirt at home and keep your chest hair and any neck chains on lockdown—a couple unfastened buttons should suffice.

Watch Your Waistline

A braided leather belt is like a time machine back to 1991, and a belt-clipped BlackBerry is the modern equivalent of the pocket protector. Choose a thin, solid-colored belt—nothing faded or distressed—to match your shoes. And holster the communicator elsewhere.

7. What should I wear to project confidence?

The CEOs say . . .

70% a well-tailored suit

18% a conservative shirt-and-tie combination

8% a power tie

"A new suit is like any other opportunity. The right tailoring shows you know how to follow through." —Congressman Charlie Dent

Sculpt Your Shoulders

"They're the first thing you see when you meet someone," says Guillermo Molina, an elite Manhattan tailor. "If it's an old suit, ask the tailor to reconstruct the shoulders using felt shoulder caps. They're less severely shaped than those made of other fabrics. And if it's a new suit, buy for the shoulders, not the waistline or hips. Shoulders are harder to fix."

Ditch the Pleats

One crease is enough. "The younger entrepreneurs, the guys who want to look sharp, they want flat-front pants," says Molina. "If a suit is too expensive to replace or has sentimental value, a good tailor can reconstruct the pants for about $100 to $150."

Do a Dry Run

When you're being fitted, wear the same shirt, undergarments, and shoes you'll wear with the finished suit. "It's common sense, but guys come in wearing T-shirts and sneakers all the time," says Molina.

8. What's the right outfit for a company retreat?

The CEOs say . . .

36% Khakis and a sport coat

23% Trousers and a dress shirt

23% Jeans and a sport shirt

3% Shorts and a button-down

"There's nothing like being stuck in the middle of nowhere with the wrong clothes for 3 days. Dressing for a corporate getaway is the hardest thing you can do." —Lauren Solomon, former vice president of professional image development, Chase Manhattan Bank

Wear Layers

When in doubt, overdress. "You can always remove your sport coat," says Dee. Underneath it, you can even layer a sport shirt over a high-quality T-shirt that's the same color as a stripe in either your coat or your sport shirt.

Choose the Right Khakis

They're a casual middle ground between jeans and slacks, but one pair of khakis doesn't fit all. Lighter skin tones require lighter khakis, while darker complexions look best with darker khakis, says San Francisco Bay-area image consultant Anthea Tolomei.

Watch the CEO for Cues

At dinner, watch the highest-ranking person in the room. If he or she shows up in a suit, you've come prepared. If the honcho shows up in jeans and a barn jacket, throw the sport coat over the back of your chair and roll up your sleeves.

Secret Muscle Foods

Eggs - Muscle-Building, Immunity, Vision

One egg provides more than 6 grams of protein and 78 calories. They contain A and B vitamins to enhance immunity, nerve response, and vision. Macedonia recommends eating whole eggs only three times a week, because of high cholesterol content.

Crack it open: Make a minute omelet. Coat a microwavable plate with non-stick spray. Mix up a tablespoon of milk with 2-3 eggs, add a few shakes of garlic powder and basil, then spread on the plate. Nuke for 1-minute. When it's still hot, add a slice of cheese and as many cooked vegetables as you wish. Serve with two slices of whole-wheat toast.

Waffles - Cardio Fuel

Waffles are great breakfast choice if players are going to be running in the morning, since eggs could turn stomachs. They provide carbs for quick energy, and make a nice "plate" for fruit. Skolnik recommends players top waffles with fruit and nuts, to sneak in important vitamins and more protein. The waffles should be cooked with enriched wheat flour, and go easy on the butter.

Iron it out: Try this recipe for buttermilk waffles. Use a waffle iron. Top with blueberries, strawberries, bananas, and nuts instead of syrup loaded with high-fructose corn syrup.

Fruit – Hydration

Fruit is one of the most important components of the players' diets because it helps them stay hydrated in the heat, while providing a great source of carbohydrates, potassium, fiber, and no fat.

Smooth transition: Smoothies are the best way for you to get in a lot of nutrient-dense calories in liquid form. Especially since heat suppresses appetite and you may not want to eat a big, hot meal. Pick up a large bag of frozen fruit, instead of letting it ferment in the fridge, and it'll always be on hand. Here's one of the Bengal's favorite smoothie recipes.

Milk – Strong Bones, Muscle Contraction

Good for the obvious reason of building strong bones through calcium, milk also assists the players in muscle contraction through high magnesium and potassium content, which can control nerve function and prevent muscle cramping. That means less twitching at night when they're trying to fall asleep after a hard day of training.

Instant Breakfast: If you're going to work out, add a packet of chocolate or strawberry Carnation Instant Breakfast to a glass of skim or 1 percent milk, or a smoothie, for flavor and more nutrients, Macedonio says. Active people should do this because it provides extra energy, carbs and sodium, which you'll need during a tough workout.

Chicken Breast – Lean Muscle, Energy, Memory

If you want to gain lean muscle mass, eat lean muscle mass. Grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast, is one of the easiest elements of any meal. One serving (about 3 oz.) is only 142 calories, yet it provides close to 27 g of protein, and only 3 grams of fat. It helps athletes retain muscle mass and is a good source of B vitamins, which provide energy and aid in memory, so players can memorize the playbook.

Easy does it: Smother chicken in spicy peanut sauce, barbecue sauce, or hot sauce, then cook on the grill. Skolnik and Bonci recommend topping chicken with pesto. Buy the pre-made version from Contadina. Keep it fresh by spooning two-tablespoon amounts into ice cube trays and freeze. Pop one out if you're cooking a portion for one.

Fish - Anti-inflammation, Muscle Repair, Immune Function

Swordfish, tuna, salmon, and halibut are all big sellers with NFL players. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish will help their bodies recover faster from the wear and tear of strenuous exercise. "We encourage foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, because they help muscles repair faster, and improve immune function," Macedonio says.

Protein power: Fish is an excellent source of protein and players usually eat big portions of 8-16 ounces, Bonci says. The cooking method is very important, as frying it can counteract the positive effects on the body. Always broil, bake, or grill. Here's a recipe for pan-seared and baked halibut with sauteed vegetables, from the Bengals' kicker, Shayne Graham, who, Macedonio says, is an excellent cook.

Vegetables – Hydration, Muscle Repair

Like fruit, vegetables are a staple food group for replacing water lost through sweat. Plant sterols also aid in muscle repair. Macedonio gets players to eat them by flavoring them using low-fat marinades like balsamic vinaigrette, or olive oil with garlic and onion. Broiling, roasting, or grilling are the easiest ways to cook vegetables to retain the flavor.

Skewer thing: Cut up big chunks of zucchini, summer squash, pepper, and/or onion. Marinate in balsamic vinaigrette for 20-30 minutes, then skewer on wooden or iron sticks. Preheat grill, then place skewers on grill for 15 minutes until vegetables are soft. You can add cut-up, marinated chicken and shrimp to the skewers for dinner on a stick.

Pasta and Rice – Energy, Speed Recovery

Whole-grain pasta and rice play a huge part in team diets because they're easy to prepare for large groups and they provide excellent sources of carbohydrates to give energy for exercise and speed recovery afterward.

Stir it up: NFL nutritionists love stir-frys because they're an easy, tasty way to sneak whole-grain products, numerous vegetables, and protein sources into one dish. To make simple stir-fry at home, Bonci recommends this easy recipe, a Steelers' team favorite, over whole-grain brown rice.

Sports Drinks – Hydration, Prevent Muscle Cramping

Players are constantly drinking Gatorade on the field. Staying hydrated is a key issue for all teams, especially since the heat index is set to soar this week. Athletes lose pounds of body weight through sweat, and sports drinks replace lost sodium and electrolytes, which are crucial to avoid muscle cramping.

Drink it up: Everyone should know his sweat rate. Before exercise, weigh yourself. Afterward, get back on the scale, and determine how much water was lost by the difference between your before and after weights. In one hour, an athlete can lose up to two liters of sweat, Skolnik says. Hydrate by drinking 1-to-1.5 times the weight lost in fluid ounces.

Sodium-Rich Foods – Retain Water, Prevent Muscle Cramping

If you're working out and losing a lot of fluids, it's a good idea to include more sodium-rich foods to help you retain water and avoid muscle cramping.  Skolnik recommends pickles, salted nuts, and pretzels. Macedonio suggests soup. "We serve soup at lunch and dinner, because the right amount of sodium prevents muscle cramping," Macedonio says.

Salt mine: Broth-based soups hydrate you through the liquid base and added vegetables. Because it is very hot outside, Macedonio recommends Gazpacho, a cold soup made with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onion. Here's a delicious, easy recipe to get you started.

Ice Cream – Cool Down Treat

Because no diet plan would survive without something sweet, NFL players eat ice cream after dinner. It provides calcium, cools them off, and gets more fluid into their bodies. But there's a limit. The Steelers grab ice cream to-go after dinner, Bonci says, that way they can't pile it on or go back for seconds.

The scoop: Always choose frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream. Ice cream is better than other treats, because it's not as heavy, calorically, as cookies or cake, Bonci says. "Plus it takes longer to eat, so you enjoy it more," she adds. Eat it on a cone, that way you can only take a small amount to avoid it from melting all over you.

The Ultimate Smoothie Selector

Smoothie Recipes

Boost your brain, build muscle, and help your heart -- with a blender


The berries here aren't just super food for your brain; they offer an important cancer-fighting bonus.

1/2 c fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 c fresh or frozen raspberries

1 c pineapple OJ

1/2 c low-fat vanilla yogurt

1 c ice


Using all unsweetened fruit, this recipe delivers an antioxidant whallop without the sugar.

1/2 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries

1/2 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries

3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

1 cup soy milk or 1% milk


This low-calorie smoothie is a good source of fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Blueberries in particular contain compounds that can help prevent cataracts, cancer, constipation, and memory loss.

1/2 c orange juice

1 pint nonfat vanilla or peach frozen yogurt

2 1/2 c sliced peaches

3/4 fresh or frozen blueberries


This mix features the brawn-building power of protein from both peanut butter and whey.

2 Tbsp peanut butter

1 banana

1/3 c whey protein

1/2 c fat-free chocolate frozen yogurt

1 c fat-free milk


This smoothie is a muscle-rejuvenating, beta-carotene-filled, orange-colored wonder.

3 small ice cubes

2 apricots (sliced and pitted)

1/2 papaya (frozen in chunks)

1/2 mango (frozen in chunks)

1/2 cup carrots

1 tablespoon honey


The fiber from the fruit teams with the artery-protecting antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fats of the peanut butter to keep your ticker tickin'.

1 banana

1/2 c raspberries

1 Tbsp peanut butter

1/2 c nonfat chocolate frozen yogurt

1 c fat-free milk


This recipe helps produce wake-up chemicals in the brain.

1 c skim milk

2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate

1 c strawberries

1 kiwifruit


The yogurt aids digestion, while the mango and juice boost immune response.

1/2 c pitted cherries

1/2 c mango

1/2 c low-fat vanilla yogurt

1 c pineapple OJ

1   c ice


An all-fruit smoothie, packed with carbs to boost your serotonin levels. Add a handful of flaxseeds for an extra dose of mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.

1/2 c fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 c fresh or frozen mango

1 c pineapple OJ

1 c ice


Less than a minute and you're drinking a better breakfast.

1 banana

1 peach (cut up)

1/4 c orange juice

1 c ice

Why Use These Ingredients?

Peanut butter

Packed with protein, manganese, and niacin, peanuts can help stave off heart disease and, when eaten in moderation, promote weight loss.

Fat-free milk

All the calcium and protein, none of the fat.


The huge amounts of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, in blueberries have been shown to slow brain decline and reverse memory loss.

Low-fat vanilla yogurt

A cache of calcium and digestion-aiding probiotics in every scoop.


An antioxidant powerhouse bursting with fiber, manganese, and vitamin C, these berries will keep your heart and brain in top shape.

Fat-free chocolate frozen yogurt

Calcium, phosphorus, and none of the guilt.

Pineapple-orange juice

OJ has vitamin C, and pineapples contain bromelain, a cancer-inhibiting, inflammation-reducing enzyme.


In addition to their vitamin C and fiber content, cherries have been linked to reducing arthritis pain.


Heavy on potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6, bananas do wonders for your heart and provide good carbs to keep you full and energized.

Whey protein

Its essential amino acids help pack on the muscle -- making whey the best friend of athletes and gym rats.

Frozen mangoes

To their stock of vitamins A and C, mangoes add a healthy dose of beta-carotene, which helps prevent cancer and promotes healthy skin.


A little H2O never hurt anyone

Your Body Is Your Barbell

No dumbbells? No problem. Here's how to build your body anywhere.


Surely you've run nonstop for 15 minutes before. But have you ever performed 15 minutes of resistance exercise without rest? Try it with these challenging body-weight exercises from trainer Craig Ballantyne, C.S.C.S. "You'll be surprised how hard you can work without a gym," he says. (Before you get started, check out the 5 rules of body-weight training.) Alternate between the Y squat and the Spider-Man pushup for three sets of each. Then perform the remaining three exercises consecutively (again, without rest), doing three sets of each.

Y Squat

Stand with your shoulder blades pulled back and your arms extended up and out so your body forms a Y. With your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, sit back at your hips to lower your body. Go as low as possible without allowing your back to round. Squeeze your glutes and push yourself back up to the starting position. Do 12 repetitions.

Spider-Man Pushup

Assume the classic pushup position with your legs straight and your abs tight. As you lower your body, bend your right leg and rotate your right knee outward until it's outside your right elbow. Don't drag your foot, and try not to allow your torso to rotate. Return to the starting position and repeat, pulling your left knee to your left elbow. Do eight reps per side.

"I don't know Shah Rukh" - Salman Khan

Salman Khan

"You work with people you don't know. I don't know Shah Rukh so I don't mind working with anybody," says Salman Khan on the prospect of working in a film with friend-turned-foe Shah Rukh Khan. "If there's something good, I wouldn't have a problem that's if he doesn't have a problem. As long as those 100 days go off peacefully and don't have any problems," Salman adds. He rates Karan Arjun as one of his favourite films (where he created magic with Shah Rukh Khan).

Salman is known for his big heart and helping nature. In a cut throat industry, he is quite a rarity. "I don't have any insecurity or jealousies that ye bada star banega and he is going to take over and we are going to be thrown out. I don't care about that stuff at all. Woh apni mehnat par hai, apne fans ke upar depend karta hai, how long you're going to be there. Fans are saying jab tak you want us to see you, we will see you," Salman says with a smile.

With the buzz around his next release Wanted gaining a huge momentum and the promos of Main Aur Mrs Khanna and London Dreams attracting attention, it is a unanimous perception that Salman Khan is all set to make a lethal comeback this year. In a no holds barred exclusive video interview with Bollywood Hungama, Salman bared his heart out on his forthcoming films, prospects of a sequel of Andaz Apna Apna, the arduous task of maintaining his chiseled frame and lots more. Guys, the interview is coming really soon. Don't miss it for anything.

Via Bollywood Hungama

ICC and PCB resolve 2011 WC dispute

David Morgan and Ijaz Butt (background) at a meeting between the ICC and PCB, Dubai, August 27, 2009

David Morgan, the ICC president, and Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, arrived at an agreement during a meeting in Dubai © Associated Press

The ICC and the PCB have resolved their dispute over the staging of the 2011 World Cup. The PCB, which was stripped of its rights to host the tournament in the aftermath of the attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore, will retain its host fees of US$10.5 million and also receive a payment, still undisclosed, as additional compensation for the loss of hosting rights. The two parties reached an agreement during a meeting between the ICC president David Morgan and the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt in Dubai. It is expected that the settlement will be signed later today, at which point the PCB will withdraw its legal proceedings against the ICC.

However, Butt told AFP that the PCB was aiming to include a clause in the agreement which would allow Pakistan to host some of the World Cup matches depending on the teams' approval. "We have also demanded to include a clause in (Thursday's) agreement that if the security situation improves in Pakistan, some of the World Cup matches be played in Pakistan subject to teams' acceptance," he said.

It was also agreed that the PCB would be free of its liabilities and obligations associated with hosting matches during the tournament, including the location of the tournament secretariat which had originally been set for Lahore.

"This resolution is good for world cricket and provides an improved platform for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 as we now have a degree of certainty surrounding the event that was not there while the dispute was ongoing, " Morgan said after the agreement was reached. "I am glad we were able to come to an amicable agreement and I believe this is a fair resolution for the PCB and the ICC."

He added that international cricket would return to Pakistan once the ICC deemed the security situation in the country was fit for teams to tour. "When the position in Pakistan, from a safety and security point of view, becomes satisfactory to the ICC and its specialist security advisors as well as to visiting teams, then international cricket will return to Pakistan," he said.

Butt, who had strongly opposed the ICC's decision to move matches out of Pakistan, welcomed the breakthrough. "The PCB is content with the settlement that has been reached," he said. "We are able to see this dispute from the other side. We realise also the logistical and administrative difficulties that would be associated with organising our matches in the other three co-host countries.

"Our number-one priority is that cricket in Pakistan must not be allowed to suffer unduly and I believe this agreement is the best possible outcome for the game," he said.

The PCB had reacted sternly over its loss of hosting rights for the tournament and had issued a legal notice to the ICC in May, calling the decision "discriminatory" and "legally flawed".

Six Sri Lankan cricketers were hurt in the attack on their team in March when they were touring for a two-Test series; other countries, prior to the tour, had refused to visit citing concerns over the volatile security situation in Pakistan. The PCB had also filed a case in the Lahore court against the ICC's decision to move the headquarters of the 2011 World Cup (the World Cup secretariat) from Lahore to Mumbai.

In June, the ICC ruled out the possibility of Pakistan's matches being hosted at neutral venues, including the UAE. It confirmed the decision to allocate Pakistan's share of the matches to the three other co-hosts, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The row showed signs of abating when, earlier this month, the PCB said it was looking for an out-of-court settlement to resolve the matter and added it was entitled to a substantial compensation for its share of matches being taken away.

Courtesy By Cricinfo

Spread 'em!

These peanut butters are heart-health powerhouses

Peanut butter isn't just kids' stuff, says Mary Ellen Camire, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Maine's department of food science and human nutrition. In addition to the protein a spoonful delivers, PB packs vitamin E and cholesterol-regulating monounsaturated fats, and "might even help curb your appetite," says Camire. Here's how to make the most of it, with or without jelly.

It may reduce your risk of coronary death

People who eat nuts or peanuts four times a week may lower their risk of dying of coronary heart disease by 37 percent, compared with people who seldom or never eat nuts, according to a review in the British Journal of Nutrition. Eating peanut butter may lower bad LDL cholesterol while maintaining good HDL cholesterol, the authors say.

It may help prevent Alzheimer's disease

Adding 22 milligrams (mg) of niacin to your daily diet may decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer's. A tablespoon of peanut butter contains about 2 mg. In a study, those who consumed 22 mg daily of this B vitamin had a 44 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's compared with those who consumed 13 mg, say researchers from Rush University Medical Center.

It's rich in antioxidants

Roasted peanuts contain about 22 percent more antioxidants than the uncooked variety and about the same amount of cell-protecting substances as strawberries, according to researchers at the University of Florida.

It may help you stay slim

If you eat nuts at least twice a week, you're about 30 percent less likely to gain weight than someone who never or rarely eats nuts, according to a study in the journal Obesity.

Best of the Best

Forget Jif. We tested more than 50 varieties for nutrition, texture, and taste. Our winners:

Best Organic: Once Again American Classic Creamy

Many organic and natural peanut butters vacuum moisture from your mouth. Once Again's variety delivers a rich, mellow texture that doesn't hang your tongue out to dry.

Per 2 Tbsp: 190 calories, 7 grams (g) protein, 15 g total fat

Try it on: your next burger. Slather it on a grilled patty and top with spinach and red onion for a double-fisted dose of protein.

Best Smooth: Teddie Old Fashioned All Natural Smooth

This was one of our taste testers' favorites across all categories. Teddie has a deep, nutty flavor and spreads evenly and easily. Better yet, it offers a solid nutritional profile.

Per 2 Tbsp: 190 calories, 8 g protein, 16 g total fat

Try it on: a grilled steak. Mix 1/2 cup with minced ginger, the juice of a lime, a can of coconut milk, and a teaspoon of hot sauce for an Asian BBQ sauce. (for distributors)

Best Crunchy: Sunland Valencia Peanut Butter Crunchy

Sunland's stuff is made exclusively with Valencia peanuts, which aren't imported--they come only from Texas and New Mexico.

Per 2 Tbsp: 200 calories, 9 g protein, 15 g total fat

Try it on: celery. Spoon a dollop into a bowl and top with golden raisins. Dunk sticks for a La-Z-Boy snack that satisfies a craving for something sweet and crunchy.

Best sweet: P.B.Loco Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough

The combination sounds like a gut bomb, but it's actually a healthy alternative that satisfies your cravings without subjecting you to a sugar rush.

Per 2 Tbsp: 190 calories, 6 g protein, 15 g total fat

Try it on: ice cream. Nuke peanut butter in a glass bowl at 30-second intervals, stirring until the peanut butter drizzles from your spoon. It's better than a sugar slick of chocolate syrup.

Best spicy: Peanut Butter & Co. The Heat Is On

This spread contains chili powder, cayenne pepper, crushed red peppers, and paprika.

Per 2 Tbsp: 190 calories, 8 g protein, 16 g total fat

Try it on: chicken satay. Brush chicken with peanut butter thinned with lime juice and soy sauce, and grill. 

Go Creative with PB

At Spread, a San Diego restaurant for the health conscious, peanut butter is a standard ingredient. (Handmade spreads are its specialty.) Here's its Rose Salted Basil Forbidden Fried Rice.

What you'll need:

2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 cup assorted diced vegetables

2 eggs, beaten

2 Tbsp toasted black sesame seeds

4 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1 1/2 cups cooked black or brown rice

For the sauce:

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic

1/2 onion

2 tsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp Spread Rose Salted Basil peanut spread ($12,

1/2 cup cilantro

Salt to taste

How to make it:

Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan on medium high. Add vegetables, onion, and garlic; sauté until the onion is translucent. Add eggs, scramble them, and add the rice. Combine sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve on your vegetable-rice entrée. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Younis not about to resign

Younis Khan leads his team off the field after the defeat, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Dambulla, August 3, 2009

Younis Khan: "I am trying my level best to lead the team and achieve the best results" © AFP

Younis Khan has taken responsibility for Pakistan's Test and ODI series defeats in Sri Lanka but has refused to resign from the captaincy. He had come under widespread criticism from the domestic media and former players, who also demanded major changes in the Pakistan Cricket Board's setup and asked the senior team management to take responsibility for the defeats. Younis has instead hit back at those who suggested he should step down.

"I accept the responsibility of defeat, but will not apologise to anyone nor will I resign as captain because it's part of the game to lose and win," Younis was quoted as saying by the Pakistan daily Jang. "I am trying my level best to lead the team and achieve the best results but some people want me to relinquish the captaincy, which I won't. Am I not a good captain or do I lack leadership qualities?"

Pakistan lost the three-Test series 0-2 and surrendered the ODI series with their third consecutive loss in the five-match series before saving face with wins in the last two ODIs. Younis singled out those two wins as proof that Pakistan could do well in Sri Lanka. "We won the last two one-day matches by huge margins, and it proved that the team had the capacity and the talent to win the Tests and one-day matches," he said. "But due to the batsmen's inconsistency, we failed to finish properly."

Younis, who returned to Pakistan after the ODI series, had earlier blamed a weak domestic setup as the reason for below-par performances in Sri Lanka. Reiterating that 'groupism' within the team had nothing to do with the team's poor showing on tour, Younis defended Pakistan's unity. "There were no differences in the team. In fact I can say that the team was never as united as it was during the Sri Lanka tour," he said.

Responding to accusations of match-fixing, Younis said: "Baseless allegations are affecting the team's performances. No one should doubt my integrity. I can never resort to any wrongdoing."

Via Cricinfo

We played mature cricket to win - Afridi

Shahid Afridi looks for maximum, Sri Lanka v Pakistan, only Twenty20 international, Colombo, August 12, 2009

Shahid Afridi's third Twenty20 half-century in a row proved immense © AFP

Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's captain for the one-off Twenty20, believes his team played 'mature cricket' to beat Sri Lanka and end their six-week tour on a winning note. Afridi, leading his country for the first time, got Pakistan to rally around him magnificently in carving out a win which went to prove that Pakistan's victory in the ICC World Twenty20 final against Sri Lanka was no fluke.

As in the Lord's final it was Afridi's all-round brilliance that tilted the scales in favour of Pakistan. He scored a well-paced half-century off 37 balls, took a vital wicket and also affected a run out to grab the Man-of-the-Match award on his debut as captain. "As captain I am really happy to have won. The guys really played mature cricket. What I told them was we are the champions and we should play like a champion team and the guys gave me a good response," said Afridi. "We really struggled in the Test series and we didn't play too well in the ODIs. This is a good victory for us. It will keep the guys morale high in the future."

About his game Afridi said: "I love to play my natural game but the situation was not right, we lost an early wicket but I thought if I stayed long the players will rally around me and I can have the scoreboard running."

Afridi spoke about giving youngsters a chance at the expense of seniors who are not performing to expectation. "If the seniors are not performing we should give them a rest and give opportunities to the youngsters to show their talent. This was an opportunity to give the younger guys and they have lived up to it."

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said that Pakistan outplayed them and that a loss always hurt. "They batted much better than we did and bowled disciplined lines and lengths. At the end of the day you can analyse our game to bits but Pakistan played just better than us.

"It was a chaseable target and we didn't do well to get there. We've got to accept that responsibility and say that it was a match we should have won but we weren't good enough. At 100 for 3 with seven overs to go it was a very gettable total but we fell away and lost too many wickets too quickly. Partnerships are key in any form of the game and we didn't have too many of them either."

Sangakkara said the turning point of the match was the way Afridi batted. "We made early inroads but that little captain's innings of his really took the game away from us. That's the way he bats he comes up the order and enjoys that responsibility in Twenty20 cricket. We were ready for that but he just batted us out of the game."

Via Cricinfo

Afridi stars Pakistan's T20 win

Shahid Afridi played a captain's knock of 50 from 37 balls as Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 52 runs in the Twenty20 international in Colombo

COLOMBO: Shahid Afridi shone with bat and ball on his debut as Pakistan's Twenty20 captain to steer the world champions to an emphatic 52-run win


Afridi smashed 50 off 37 balls in Pakistan's 172-5, and then claimed 1-21 in four economical overs and effected a run out with a direct throw as Sri Lanka were shot out for 120 with 11 balls to spare.

A sell-out crowd of 35,000 at the overflowing Premadasa stadium watched the first T20 match between the two teams since the World Twenty20 final in England in June, when Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets.

The result was the same as seamer Rana Naved and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal picked up three wickets each to stun the hosts.

Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals with skipper Kumar Sangakkara the only batsman to offer resistance against the fired-up Pakistanis with 38 off 31 balls.

Afridi, who was man of the match in both the semi-final and final at the Worlds, once again dominated the battle to help Pakistan end an otherwise dismal tour of Sri Lanka on a winning note.

Pakistan had lost the preceding Test series 2-0 and conceded the One-dayers by a 2-3 margin during the six-week tour.

Afridi hit two sixes and four boundaries after taking over the Twenty20 team from Test and one-day skipper Younis Khan, who has retired from the shortest format of the game.

Pakistan, who elected to bat after winning the toss, lost a wicket off the first ball when Kamran Akmal was bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara after attempting a big heave.

The other opener, Imran Nazir, cracked five fours and a six in his 40 off 28 balls to boost the total as Pakistan moved to 59-3 by the eighth over.

Teenager Umar Akmal, who hit a 20-ball 30, put on 66 for the fourth wicket with Afridi.

Abdul Razzaq and Misbah-ul Haq added a quickfire 33 as Pakistan plundered 47 runs in the last five overs to leave Sri Lanka facing a daunting target of 8.7 runs an over.

Afridi the unlikely captain

Shahid Afridi goes through the motions at practice

Pakistan Tries Its Luck With an Unlikely Captain

Sports may specialize in tales of the improbable, but there are still some things you just don’t expect to see happen. On Wednesday, Shahid Afridi will captain Pakistan’s cricketers in a Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Think Michael Vick becoming president of the Humane Society of the United States, or Manchester United’s manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, being awarded the Freedom of Liverpool.

Of course not all national cricket captains are straight arrows like England’s Andrew Strauss. Should Afridi last very long in his new role, there is a good chance he will find himself tossing for innings with Ricky Ponting of Australia, whose issues with alcohol and betting once threatened to capsize his career.

Afridi, 29, has had a career whose colorfulness is eclipsed among current players only by his turbulent erstwhile Pakistan teammate Shoaib Akhtar. Afridi’s extensive rap sheet includes a four-match ban for insulting opponents and a match umpire; a dressing room dispute with his captain and vice captain over his place in Pakistan’s batting order; sanctions after a girl was found in his room — his explanation that she was seeking his autograph was not accepted — and being fingered as the provocateur two years ago when Akhtar finally lost it and struck a teammate with a bat.

There was a brief, mysterious and never fully explained retirement from test cricket three years ago, and as recently as last year the Indian star Vangipurappu Laxman, his captain in the first Indian Premier League tournament, complained that “Afridi has no team ethics.”

That he has survived at all is because of his exceptional talent. A dull or mediocre player — admittedly not a type often seen in Pakistan teams — would have been discarded long ago.

That Afridi is anything but dull or mediocre was made abundantly clear in his first international innings as a 16-year-old. Not for him the diffident, deferential entrance. Playing against Sri Lanka in Nairobi he struck bowlers who included the world-class Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas for 100 runs from only 37 deliveries, still the fastest century ever struck in a one-day international. He is also fourth on the list, with a violent 45-ball assault on India in 2005.

He has continued his career in that vein as the most destructive batsman around. He averages 111 runs per 100 balls, easily the fastest among those who have scored more than 1,000 runs, in one-day internationals. He also bowls fast, attacking wrist spin and is a fine fielder in a team often lacking in this respect.

The problem has been lack of consistency and judgment, overconfidently audacious stroke play that often costs his wicket when restraint would have produced better results. That he has played only 26 five-day tests in 11 years since his debut, and none in the last three, reflects the exasperation he has induced in captains and selectors.

His attributes might, though, have been designed with the Twenty20 format in mind. He bestrode this year’s World T20 tournament in England with both bat and ball, his innings in the semifinal and final taking Pakistan to its victory. Along with his brilliance, there was a fresh sense of him as a team man. When the 17-year-old paceman Mohammad Aamer beat the dangerous South African batsman Jacques Kallis in the semifinal, only to see the ball fly off the edge of the bat for four runs, it was Afridi who ran 20 meters to put an arm around his team-mate and encourage more of the same.

Much of the credit was due to Pakistan’s captain, Younis Khan, who reminded Afridi of his importance to the team but also counseled patience in his batting, pointing out that he did not need to strike every single ball for four or six.

Khan’s retirement from T20 created the opening for Afridi to step up. He has some experience of leadership in domestic cricket, and there may be a hint of his likely style in his criticisms of Shoaib Malik, Pakistan’s captain before Khan, for not being tough enough with his players.

It might be a short-lived experiment or could be the prelude to his stepping onto the big stage at some point should Khan, still one-day and test captain, lose form or fall victim to Pakistan’s ever-Byzantine cricket politics. But whether it lasts a day or a decade, Afridi’s tenure as Pakistan captain is unlikely to be dull. After all, nothing else in his career has been.

The Six Greatest Ab Exercises of All-Time

Long-Arm Weighted Crunch

This abs exercise targets your upper abs. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms straight back beyond your head. Now crunch your rib cage toward your pelvis, keeping your shoulders still and your arms straight. Don't generate momentum with your arms. Perform 12 to 15 repetitions.

long-arm-weighted crunch

Seated Ab Crunch

Sit on the edge of a bench. Grip the edge of the pad and lean back slightly, extending your legs down and away and keeping your heels 4 to 6 inches off the floor. Bend your knees and slowly raise your legs toward your chest. At the same time, lean forward with your upper body, allowing your chest to approach your thighs. Return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions.


This abs exercise targets both the lower abs and the obliques. Lie on your back, with your legs raised directly over your hips. Your knees should be slightly bent. Place your hands at your sides with the palms down. Use your lower abs to raise your hips off the floor and toward your rib cage, elevating your feet straight up. Simultaneously twist your hips to the right. Hold, then return to the starting position. Repeat, twisting to the left. Do 10 repetitions to each side.

abs workout corkscrew

Weighted One-Sided Crunch

This abs exercise targets both the upper abs and the obliques. Lie with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, and hold a dumbbell with both hands by your right shoulder. Curl your torso up and rotate to the left. Lower yourself, finish the set on that side, then switch directions and repeat, holding the dumbbell next to your left shoulder. Perform three sets of eight repetitions to each side.

Kneeling Cable Crunch

Kneel facing the pulley and hold the ends of a rope attached to the high cable along the sides of your face. Bend forward, aiming your chest at your pelvis. Return to the starting position, then repeat the movement, this time aiming your chest toward your left knee. Return, then repeat to your right. That's one repetition. Perform three sets of eight repetitions.

abs workout kneeling cable crunch

Crunch/Side-Bend Combo

This exercise targets both the upper abs and the obliques. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and hands behind your ears. Curl up so your shoulder blades are off the floor. Bend at the waist to your left, aiming your left armpit toward your left hip. Straighten, then bend to your right. Lower yourself to the starting position and repeat. Perform three sets of eight repetitions to each side.

A Harder Core Challenge

Master the side bridge to build better abs Don't underestimate the tame-looking side bridge. "Men think a good ab exercise has to make your abs burn," says Michael Boyle, M.A., ATC. Here's the truth: Side bridges improve the stability of all the muscles surrounding your spine and stomach. In fact, Canadian researchers found that men who can perform the side bridge effectively are less likely to encounter back trouble. Add these ab exercises to your workout to bolster your core and help carve a six-pack.

The Moves

Hold for the time specified below, then switch sides.

Kneeling Side Bridge

Lie on your side with your forearm on the floor and your elbow under your shoulder, your knees bent 90 degrees. Contract your glutes and keep your abs stiff throughout. Raise your hips until your torso is straight from shoulders to knees.

Side Bridge

Lie on your side with your forearm on the floor under your shoulder, and your feet stacked together. Contract your glutes and abs. Push your hip off the floor, creating a straight line from ankle to shoulder and keeping your head in line with your spine.

Elevated Side Bridge

Same setup as you use for the side bridge, but stack your feet on a bench. Don't allow your hips to sag.

The Workout

Do this routine two or three times a week.

Week Exercise  Sets  Time
1 Kneeling Side Bridge 2 30 seconds
2 Kneeling Side Bridge 2 60 seconds
3 Side Bridge 2-3 45 seconds
4 Side Bridge 2-3 60 seconds
5 Elevated Side Bridge 2-3 45 seconds

13 Places to Eat Before You Die

Any seasoned traveler can tell you that the "best" meals on the planet are the result of an ephemeral confluence of circumstances. A table at the most expensive restaurant in the world does not guarantee a truly great meal. That said, if you're planning on dying in the near future and want to knock off a list of final, glorious dining experiences, these places would make a very respectable binge. Start with one. Make a reservation today. Go on an empty stomach. Trust me: This is livin'.

1)  St. John (London) If I had to die with half a bite of anything hanging out of my mouth, it would probably be the roast bone marrow in Fergus Henderson's plain-white dining room at St. John. Scooped out and slathered onto a crust of toasted bread and sprinkled with sea salt, it's simple yet luxurious. The menu is proudly English, a rebuke to anyone still laboring under the impression that English food sucks. Famously pork-centric and focused on traditional offal and game dishes, St. John is as wonderful for what it does as for what it doesn't do: compromise. It specializes in good ingredients from "happy" animals that are treated with love and respect. Henderson has become a reluctant spiritual leader to a whole generation of chefs--and even the old-guard guys love to stop by for crispy pig tails, ham in hay, or a properly roasted bird. This is one of the truly bullshit-free zones on the culinary landscape.

2)  elBulli (Girona, Spain) It's the hardest reservation in the world. And everything they say is true: It's an adventure, a challenge, a delicious and always fun acid trip to the farthest reaches of creativity. Brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià and their team are the most influential and creative people working in food--and this surprisingly casual restaurant on a sleepy cove on Spain's Costa Brava is probably the most important restaurant of our time. Love it or hate it, if you have the opportunity to wangle a reservation, do it. It's like seeing Jimi Hendrix's first show. Forget any preconceptions you might have. Is it good? Yes. More important--is it fun? Yes. Yes. Yes.

3)  The French Laundry (Napa Valley, California)

4  Per Se (New York City) The best sit-down, multicourse, white-tablecloth meal of my life was at the French Laundry. And subsequent meals at Per Se, also run by chef Thomas Keller, were no less wonderful. There's no better way to go than the full-on tasting menu, a once-in-a-lifetime marriage of the best ingredients, creative thinking, and high standards, along with the personal imprint of the most respected chef in the world. How can Keller be at both restaurants at once? It doesn't matter. Pick one. Fast for 2 days, stretch your stomach with water the day of, and then see how they do it at the very top. It's a level of perfection in food and service that few even try to approach.

5)  Sin Huat Eating House (Singapore) It's grimy looking, the service can be less than warm, the beer is served in a bottle (often with ice), and the tables sit halfway into the streets of Geylang, Singapore's red-light district. But the crab bee hoon--giant Sri Lankan beasts cooked with a spicy mystery sauce and noodles--is pure messy indulgence. The whelks, steamed spotted cod, prawns, scallops (in fact, any seafood available that day) are all worth having. Warning: It looks cheap, but it's not.

6)  Le Bernardin (New York City) This is the best fish joint . . . anywhere. And it's relevant and fun, despite its formal service and fine-dining ambience. The grand tasting menu is a stripped-down thing of relatively austere beauty. And whatever they're doing this year or this month is always, always interesting.

7)  Salumi (Seattle) It's a sandwich shop with a couple of tables, and a true mom-and-pop--even if they're the mom and pop of famous chef Mario Batali. Anything cured, anything braised, any of the limited hot specials . . . in fact, anything the Batalis make is worth grabbing with both hands.

8)  Russ & Daughters (New York City)

9)  Katz's Delicatessen (New York City) Russ & Daughters started as a pushcart nearly a century ago, and it now serves some of the last traditional Eastern European Jewish-style herring and smoked belly lox, sable, and sturgeon. And since you're close, walk down a few doors to Katz's to remind yourself how pastrami is done right. This is what New Yorkers do better than anybody else. And here's where they do it.

10)  Etxebarri (Axpe, Spain) Victor Arguinzoniz grills unlikely ingredients over homemade charcoal: baby eels, imperial beluga caviar, oysters. (The fresh chorizo and prawns work, too.) Theoretically you can't grill a lot of this stuff, but a handcrafted series of pulleys that raise and lower each item makes it possible. Eat here, and no one is eating better.

11)  Sukiyabashi Jiro (Tokyo) The best sushi on earth? Maybe. Jiro Ono is more than 80 years old, and he's been doing old-school Edo-style sushi his whole life. Every piece of fish is served at precisely the right temperature and the rice and seaweed alone are blackout good. Ono will ruin sushi for you from anywhere else.

12)  Hot Doug's (Chicago) This place convinced me the Chicago red hot is, in fact, superior to the New York hot dog. And it's home to two great innovations in American gastronomy: the "foie gras dog" and the weekends-only practice of cooking French fries in duck fat. It's proof that food doesn't have to be expensive to be great.

13)  Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue (Kansas City, Kansas) People may disagree on who has the best BBQ. Here, the brisket (particularly the burnt ends), pulled pork, and ribs are all of a quality that meet the high standards even of Kansas City natives. It's the best BBQ in Kansas City, which makes it the best BBQ in the world. Anthony Bourdain is the host of the Travel Channel's No Reservations.

Power 12 Foods: Never Go Hungry


Meet the powerfoods that will shrink your gut and keep you healthy for lifePower 12 Foods: Never Go Hungry

The Power of Food

These 12 power foods make up a large part of your diet. The more of these foods you eat, the better your body will be able to increase lean muscle mass and avoid storing fat. They have been proven to do one or more of the following:

· Builds muscle

· Helps promote weight loss

· Strengthens bone

· Lowers blood pressure

· Fights cancer

· Improves immune function

· Fights heart disease

1) Almonds and Other Nuts

Eat them with skins intact.

Superpowers: Building muscle, fighting food cravings

Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate (in peanuts), fiber, magnesium, phosphorus

Fight against: Obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, cancer

Sidekicks: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados

Impostors: Salted or smoked nuts. High sodium spikes blood pressure.

These days, you hear about good fats and bad fats the way you hear about good cops and bad cops. One's on your side, and one's going to beat you silly. Oreos fall into the latter category, but nuts are clearly out to help you. They contain the monounsaturated fats that clear your arteries and help you feel full. All nuts are high in protein and monounsaturated fat.

But almonds are like Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest: They're the king of the nuts. Eat as much as two handfuls a day. If you eat 2 ounces of almonds (about 24 of them), it can suppress your appetite--especially if you wash them down with 8 ounces of water.

For a quick popcorn alternative, spray a handful of almonds with nonstick cooking spray and bake them at 400 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle them with either a brown sugar and cinnamon mix or cayenne pepper and thyme.


2) Beans and Other Legumes

Including soybeans, chickpeas, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans.

Superpowers: Building muscle, helping burn fat, regulating digestion

Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, iron, folate

Fight against: Obesity, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure

Sidekicks Lentils, peas, bean dips, hummus, edamame

Impostors: Refried beans, which are high in saturated fats; baked beans, which are high in sugar.

Most of us can trace our resistance to beans to some unfortunately timed intestinal upheaval (third-grade math class, a first date gone awry). But beans are, as the famous rhyme says, good for your heart; the more you eat them, the more you'll be able to control your hunger.

Black, lima, pinto, navy -- you pick it. They're all low in fat, and they're packed with protein, fiber, and iron--nutrients crucial for building muscle and losing weight. Gastrointestinal disadvantages notwithstanding, they serve as one of the key members of the Abs Diet cabinet because of all their nutritional power. In fact, if you can replace a meat-heavy dish with a bean-heavy dish a couple of times a week, you'll be lopping a lot of saturated fat out of your diet and replacing it with higher amounts of fiber.


3) Spinach and Other Green Vegetables

Superpowers: Neutralizing free radicals (molecules that accelerate the aging process)

Secret weapons: Vitamins including A, C, and K; folate; beta-carotene; minerals including calcium and magnesium; fiber

Fight against: Cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis

Sidekicks: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts; green, yellow, red, and orange vegetables such as asparagus, peppers, and yellow beans

Impostors: None, as long as you don't fry them or smother them in fatty cheese sauces.

You know vegetables are packed with important nutrients, but they're also a critical part of your body-changing diet. I like spinach in particular because one serving supplies nearly a full day's vitamin A and half of your vitamin C. It's also loaded with folate -- a vitamin that protects against heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer. Dress a sandwich with the stuff, or stir-fry it with fresh garlic and olive oil.

Broccoli is high in fiber and more densely packed with vitamins and minerals than almost any other food. If you hate vegetables, hide them. Puree them and add them to marinara sauce or chili. The more you chop, the less you taste, and the easier it is for your body to absorb nutrients. With broccoli, sauté it in garlic and olive oil, and douse it with hot sauce.


4) Dairy Products

Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese.

Superpowers: Building strong bones, firing up weight loss

Secret weapons: Calcium, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium

Fight against: Osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer

Sidekicks: None

Impostors: Whole milk, frozen yogurt

Dairy is nutrition's version of a typecast actor. It gets so much good press for strengthening bones that it garners little attention for all the other stuff it does well. Just take a look at the mounting evidence that calcium is a prime belly-buster. A University of Tennessee study found that dieters who consumed between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day lost nearly twice as much weight as those taking in less calcium. Researchers think the mineral probably prevents weight gain by increasing the breakdown of body fat and hampering its formation. Low-fat yogurt, cheeses, and other dairy products can play a key role in your diet. But I recommend milk as your major source of calcium. Liquids take up lots of room in your stomach, so your brain gets the signal that you're full. Sprinkling in chocolate whey powder can help curb sweet cravings.


5) Instant Oatmeal

Unsweetened, unflavored.

Superpowers: Boosting energy and sex drive, reducing cholesterol, maintaining blood-sugar levels

Secret weapons: Complex carbohydrates and fiber

Fights against: Heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, obesity

Sidekicks: High-fiber cereals like All-Bran and Fiber One

Impostors: Sugary cereals

Oatmeal is the Bo Derek of your pantry: It's a perfect 10. You can eat it at breakfast to propel you through sluggish mornings, a couple of hours before a workout to feel fully energized by the time you hit the weights, or at night to avoid a late-night binge. I recommend instant oatmeal for its convenience. But I want you to buy the unsweetened, unflavored variety and use other Powerfoods such as milk and berries to enhance the taste. Preflavored oatmeal often comes loaded with sugar calories.

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, meaning that it attracts fluid and stays in your stomach longer than insoluble fiber (like vegetables). Soluble fiber is thought to reduce blood cholesterol by binding with digestive acids made from cholesterol and sending them out of your body. When this happens, your liver has to pull cholesterol from your blood to make more digestive acids, and your bad cholesterol levels drop.

Trust me: You need more fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Doctors recommend we get between 25 and 35 grams of fiber per day, but most of us get half that. Fiber is like a bouncer for your body, kicking out troublemakers and showing them the door. It protects you from heart disease. It protects you from colon cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the intestines quickly.

A Penn State study also showed that oatmeal sustains your blood sugar levels longer than many other foods, which keeps your insulin levels stable and ensures you won't be ravenous for the few hours that follow. That's good, because spikes in the production of insulin slow your metabolism and send a signal to the body that it's time to start storing fat. Since oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, it causes less of a spike in insulin levels than foods like bagels. Include it in a smoothie or as your breakfast. (A U.S. Navy study showed that simply eating breakfast raised metabolism by 10 percent.)

Another cool fact about oatmeal: Preliminary studies indicate that oatmeal raises the levels of free testosterone in your body, enhancing your body's ability to build muscle and burn fat and boosting your sex drive.


6) Eggs

Superpowers: Building muscle, burning fat

Secret weapons: Protein, vitamins A and B12

Fight against: Obesity

Sidekicks: Egg Beaters, which have fewer calories than eggs and no fat, but just as much of the core nutrients

Impostors: None

For a long time, eggs were considered pure evil, and doctors were more likely to recommend tossing eggs at passing cars than throwing them into omelette pans. That's because just two eggs contain enough cholesterol to put you over your daily recommended value. Though you can cut out some of that by removing part of the yolk and using the white, more and more research shows that eating an egg or two a day will not raise your cholesterol levels.

In fact, we've learned that most blood cholesterol is made by the body from dietary fat, not dietary cholesterol. That's why you should take advantage of eggs and their powerful makeup of protein. The protein found in eggs has the highest "biological value" of protein -- a measure of how well it supports your body's protein need -- of any food. In other words, the protein in eggs is more effective at building muscle than protein from other sources, even milk and beef. Eggs also contain vitamin B12, which is necessary for fat breakdown.


7) Turkey and Other Lean Meats

Lean steak, chicken, fish.

Superpowers: Building muscle, improving the immune system

Secret weapons: Protein, iron, zinc, creatine (beef), omega-3 fatty acids (fish), vitamins B6 (chicken and fish) and B12, phosphorus, potassium

Fight against: Obesity, mood disorders, memory loss, heart disease

Sidekicks: Shellfish, Canadian bacon, omega-3 rich flaxseed

Impostors: Sausage, bacon, cured meats, ham, fatty cuts of steak like T-bone and rib eye

A classic muscle-building nutrient, protein is the base of any solid diet plan. Turkey breast is one of the leanest meats you'll find, and it packs nearly one-third of your daily requirements of niacin and vitamin B6. Dark meat, if you prefer, has lots of zinc and iron. One caution, though: If you're roasting a whole turkey for a family feast, avoid self-basting birds, which have been injected wth fat.

Beef is another classic muscle-building protein. It's the top food source for creatine -- the substance your body uses when you lift weights. Beef does have a downside; it contains saturated fats, but some cuts have more than others. Look for rounds or loins (that's code for extra-lean); sirloins and New York strips are less fatty than prime ribs and T-bones.

To cut down on saturated fats even more, concentrate on fish like tuna and salmon, because they contain a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein. Those fatty acids lower levels of a hormone called leptin in your body. Several recent studies suggest that leptin directly influences your metabolism: The higher your leptin levels, the more readily your body stores calories as fat. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that mice with low leptin levels have faster metabolisms and are able to burn fat faster than animals with higher leptin levels. Mayo Clinic researchers studying the diets of two African tribes found that the tribe that ate fish frequently had leptin levels nearly five times lower than the tribe that primarily ate vegetables.

A bonus benefit: Researchers in Stockholm found that men who ate no fish had three times the risk of prostate cancer of those who ate it regularly. It's the omega-3s that inhibit prostate-cancer growth.


8) Peanut Butter

All-natural, sugar-free.

Superpowers: Boosting testosterone, building muscle, burning fat

Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, niacin, magnesium

Fights against: Obesity, muscle loss, wrinkles, cardiovascular disease

Sidekicks: Cashew and almond butters

Impostors: Mass-produced sugary and trans fatty peanut butters

Yes, PB has its disadvantages: It's high in calories, and it doesn't go over well when you order it in four-star restaurants. But it's packed with those heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that can increase your body's production of testosterone, which can help your muscles grow and your fat melt. In one 18-month experiment, people who integrated peanut butter into their diet maintained weight loss better than those on low-fat plans. A recent study from the University of Illinois showed that diners who had monounsaturated fats before a meal (in this case, it was olive oil) ate 25 percent fewer calories during that meal than those who didn't.

Practically speaking, PB also works because it's a quick and versatile snack -- and it tastes good. Since a diet that includes an indulgence like peanut butter doesn't leave you feeling deprived, it's easier to follow and won't make you fall prey to other cravings. Use it on an apple, on the go, or to add flavor to potentially bland smoothies. Two caveats: You can't gorge on it because of its fat content; limit yourself to about 3 tablespoons per day. And you should look for all-natural peanut butter, not the mass-produced brands that have added sugar.



9) Olive Oil

Superpowers: Lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system

Secret weapons: Monounsaturated fat, vitamin E

Fights against: Obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure

Sidekicks: Canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil

Impostors: Other vegetable and hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fatty acids, margarine

No need for a long explanation here: Olive oil and its brethren will help control your food cravings; they'll also help you burn fat and keep your cholesterol in check. Do you need any more reason to pass the bottle?


10) Whole-Grain Breads and Cereals

Superpowers: Preventing your body from storing fat

Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc

Fight against: Obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease

Sidekicks: Brown rice, whole-wheat pretzels, whole-wheat pastas

Impostors: Processed bakery products like white bread, bagels, and doughnuts; breads labeled wheat instead of whole wheat

There's only so long a person can survive on an all-protein diet or an all-salad diet or an all-anything diet. You crave carbohydrates because your body needs them. The key is to eat the ones that have been the least processed -- carbs that still have all their heart-healthy, belly-busting fiber intact.

Grains like wheat, corn, oats, barley, and rye are seeds that come from grasses, and they're broken into three parts -- the germ, the bran, and the endosperm. Think of a kernel of corn.

The biggest part of the kernel -- the part that blows up when you make popcorn -- is the endosperm. Nutritionally it's pretty much a big dud. It contains starch, a little protein, and some B vitamins. The germ is the smallest part of the grain; in the corn kernel, it's that little white seedlike thing. But while it's small, it packs the most nutritional power. It contains protein, oils, and the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine. It also has vitamin E and the minerals magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron. The bran is the third part of the grain and the part where all the fiber is stored. It's a coating around the endosperm that contains B vitamins, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals.

So what's the point of this little biology lesson? Well, get this: When food manufacturers process and refine grains, guess which two parts get tossed out? Yup, the bran, where all the fiber and minerals are, and the germ, where all the protein and vitamins are. And what they keep -- the nutritionally bankrupt endosperm (that is, starch) -- gets made into pasta, bagels, white bread, white rice, and just about every other wheat product and baked good you'll find. Crazy, right? But if you eat products made with all the parts of the grain -- whole-grain bread, pasta, long-grain rice -- you get all the nutrition that food manufacturers are otherwise trying to cheat you out of.

Whole-grain carbohydrates can play an important role in a healthy lifestyle. In an 11-year study of 16,000 middle-age people, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that consuming three daily servings of whole grains can reduce a person's mortality risk over the course of a decade by 23 percent. (Tell that to your buddy who's eating low-carb.) Whole-grain bread keeps insulin levels low, which keeps you from storing fat. In this diet, it's especially versatile because it'll supplement any kind of meal with little prep time. Toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, with a dab of peanut butter for a snack. Don't believe the hype. Carbs -- the right kind of carbs -- are good for you.

Warning: Food manufacturers are very sneaky. Sometimes, after refining away all the vitamins, fiber, and minerals from wheat, they'll add molasses to the bread, turning it brown, and put it on the grocery shelf with a label that says wheat bread. It's a trick! Truly nutritious breads and other products will say whole-wheat or whole-grain. Don't be fooled.


11) Extra-Protein (Whey) Powder

Superpowers: Building muscle, burning fat

Secret weapons: Protein, cysteine, glutathione

Fights against: Obesity

Sidekick: Ricotta cheese

Impostor: Soy protein

Protein powder? What the heck is that? It's the only Abs Diet Powerfood that you may not be able to find at the supermarket, but it's the one that's worth the trip to a health food store. I'm talking about powdered whey protein, a type of animal protein that packs a muscle-building wallop. If you add whey powder to your meal -- in a smoothie, for instance -- you may very well have created the most powerful fat-burning meal possible. Whey protein is a high-quality protein that contains essential amino acids that build muscle and burn fat. But it's especially effective because it has the highest amount of protein for the fewest number of calories, making it fat's kryptonite.

Smoothies with some whey powder can be most effective before a workout. A 2001 study at the University of Texas found that lifters who drank a shake containing amino acids and carbohydrates before working out increased their protein synthesis (their ability to build muscle) more than lifters who drank the same shake after exercising. Since exercise increases bloodflow to tissues, the theory goes that having whey protein in your system when you work out may lead to a greater uptake of amino acids -- the building blocks of muscle -- in your muscle.

But that's not all. Whey protein can help protect your body from prostate cancer. Whey is a good source of cysteine, which your body uses to build a prostate cancer–fighting antioxidant called glutathione. Adding just a small amount may increase glutathione levels in your body by up to 60 percent.

By the way, the one great source of whey protein in your supermarket is ricotta cheese. Unlike other cheeses, which are made from milk curd, ricotta is made from whey -- a good reason to visit your local Italian eatery.


12) Raspberries and Other Berries

Superpowers: Protecting your heart, enhancing eyesight, improving memory, preventing cravings

Secret weapons: Antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, tannins (cranberries)

Fight against: Heart disease, cancer, obesity

Sidekicks: Most other fruits, especially apples and grapefruit

Impostors: Sugary jellies

Depending on your taste, any berry will do (except Crunch Berries). I like raspberries as much for their power as for their taste. They carry powerful levels of antioxidants, all-purpose compounds that help your body fight heart disease and cancer; the berries' flavonoids may also help your eyesight, balance, coordination, and short-term memory. One cup of raspberries packs 6 grams of fiber and more than half of your daily requirement of vitamin C.

Blueberries are also loaded with the soluble fiber that, like oatmeal, keeps you fuller longer. In fact, they're one of the most healthful foods you can eat. Blueberries beat out 39 other fruits and vegetables in the antioxidant power ratings. (One study also found that rats that ate blueberries were more coordinated and smarter than rats that didn't.)

Strawberries contain another valuable form of fiber called pectin (as do grapefruits, peaches, apples, and oranges). In a study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, subjects drank plain orange juice or juice spiked with pectin. The people who got the loaded juice felt fuller after drinking it than those who got the juice without the pectin. The difference lasted for an impressive 4 hours.