10 Vitamin-Rich Foods You're Not Eating part 2Red Grapefruit
Nutrients: Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate, Calcium, Fiber, Lycopene, Vitamin B6
Why You Need It: The benefits of citrus fruits are no secret, but sometimes red grapefruit gets overlooked in favor of the more popular crowd in the produce section (oranges, nectarines, peaches). In fact, one Israeli study found that feeding patients the equivalent of one grapefruit a day lowered cholesterol. And the red variety was found to be more effective than white in lowering blood triglycerides, a cholesterol type whose elevated levels is a marker of heart disease. It's a good thing, too, since red grapefruit is sweeter and more palate-friendly than it's sour sister.
How to Eat It: You know that white pulpy stuff you peel away from grapefruit? Leave it on! Palumbo says that many of the nutrients are contained right there, so you'll get the full benefits of all the 170 different vitochemicals that researchers have identified in citrus foods.
Nutrients: Vitamins, A, C, E, B6, and K, Potassium, Thiamin, Folate, Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, Fiber
Why You Need It: Really any dark leafy green can help reduce inflammation and improve overall cardiovascular health, says Palumbo. But the fact that foods like turnip greens have folate should especially bring men to attention. As noted in The Big Book of Sex, folate may lower blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that irritates the lining of arteries and encourages plaque to adhere to it (one Harvard University study found that those who consumed the most folate daily were 30% less likely to develop Peripheral Arterial Disease). And as you know, once you get that blood flowing well to all extremities, your equipment works much better.
How to Eat It: You can just remove boil or steam the greens, making an excellent side dish. Other dark leafy vegetables in the same family will work just as well—check out this Guy Gourmet post on the Greatest Way to Cook Collard Greens.
Nutrients: Vitamin E, Iron, Copper, Fiber
Why You Need It: While olives (the green or black variety) often get a bad rap for being high in sodium, they're also a good source of antioxidants like Vitamin E, which can help promote heart health and fight inflammation (olive oil, in fact, made it onto our list of the Top 40 Foods with Superpowers ). Bonus benefit: If you're on a vegetarian diet, olives can be a decent source of iron (one serving provides about 24.7% of your daily recommended allowance). Just don't bite into those pits—not good for the teeth.
How to Eat It: Any way you want, basically—right out of the can or sprinkled on salads is a good start. You can even make olives an essential ingredient in your next cocktail.
Nutrients: Vitamin A, C, and B6, Omega-3 fats, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese
Why You Need It: You know that weed that sometimes sprouts from the cracks in your sidewalk? Yeah, you can eat it—and it's really good for you. We've covered this a little in the past, but purslane has the highest amount omega-3 fats of any edible plants, according to researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio. And Palumbo praises the vegetable for being one of the few foods that naturally contains melatonin, an antioxidant that helps you sleep and may prevent cancer. "We lose it as we age," she says.
How to Eat It: You can chop it up and put it in a salad as a lettuce alternative (the leaves have a lemony taste). Here's one way to Build the Perfect Salad.
Nutrients: Vitamins, A, C, and B6, Potassium, Fiber
Why You Need It: Mushrooms themselves have a lot of health benefits, specifically through the antioxidant ergothioneine, which helps reduce the risk of cancer. But this brand in particular, which Palumbo recommends, has been exposed to UV light, boosting its Vitamin D content, a hormone we don't often get through food sources. Through one 3-ounce serving of the stuff, you can get all of your recommended daily allowance of the nutrient, which can help you burn fat, maintain muscle mass, and improve your overall mental health.
How to Eat It: Monterey mushrooms are excellent on salads. But you can also try them with heartier dishes, especially during the winter. How about giving this Mushroom Pasta recipe a shot?
Nutrients: Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium
Why You Need It: As mentioned in the Big Book of Sex, Oysters hold more zinc than most any other food. And that's important. Because, as dietician Dave Grotto (author of ) says, "Guys are motivated by mental, physical, and sexual performance—and zinc crosses all those barriers." It's a mineral crucial to healthy sperm production, while also helping with immune system functions, digestion, stress levels, energy, and even skin health.
How to Eat It: About six will provide double the recommended daily allowance of 15 mg of zinc. To spice things up a bit, try a few dashes of hot sauce on your raw oysters.