Healthy Eating

A healthy diet helps pave the way to a healthy heart and blood vessels, strong bones and muscles, a sharp mind, and so much more.

Confused about what constitutes a healthy diet? You aren't alone. Over the years, what seemed to be flip flops from medical research combined with the flood of diet books and diet plans based on little or no science have muddied the water. But a consensus has emerged about the basics, which are really pretty simple.

An important take-home message is to focus on the types of foods you eat and your overall dietary pattern, instead of on individual nutrients such as fat, dietary cholesterol, or specific vitamins. There are no single nutrients or vitamins that can make you healthy. Instead, there is a short list of key food types that together can dramatically reduce your risk for heart disease.

Eat more of these foods: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and seafood, vegetable oils, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Eat less of these foods: whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods, red meat, processed meats, highly refined and processed grains and sugars, and sugary drinks.

Healthy Eating Articles

Ask the doctor: Best protein: animals or plants?

Men need about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day. Animal products contain some of the highest amounts, but many sources also include high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Plant proteins might be a healthier choice since they also include essential vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. (Locked) More »

Should you try a subscription meal kit?

Subscription meal kits provide fresh, pre-measured ingredients ready to be cooked at home. They are convenient and can challenge someone to try new foods. The pre-portioned ingredients arrive once a week in insulated packaging, with step-by-step instructions and photos. Some companies offer vegetarian and gluten-free options. But some meals are high in calories or sodium. Before selecting meals, it’s best to read the nutrition information. One should avoid meals with more than 500 milligrams of sodium per serving. (Locked) More »

Higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids may lower death rates in older men

A new study found that high levels of omega-6 fatty acids in the subcutaneous adipose tissue—the layer of fat just beneath the skin—correlated with lower death rates among older men. Omega-6s mostly come in the form of linoleic acid, found in plant oils (such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oils) as well as nuts and seeds. Linoleic acid is known to shrink levels of bad LDL cholesterol in the blood, which can contribute to lower incidence of heart disease. More »

How to avoid the health risks of too much salt

Too much dietary sodium may increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Dietitians recommend limiting sodium intake to 500 or 600 milligrams per meal, and making sure it comes from healthy sources, like whole-grain breads and cereals. Sodium content is listed on Nutrition Facts labels on packaged food. Another recommendation is to flavor food with spices, such as basil and ginger, instead of salt. It’s best to choose fresh foods, and to avoid processed foods, which are often very high in sodium. (Locked) More »

Magnesium: A mineral you might be missing

Most people in the United States don’t get the recommended amount of magnesium in their diets. Nuts, leafy greens, and whole grains are rich in this essential mineral, which seems to help lower blood pressure. Certain people with high blood pressure may benefit from taking magnesium supplements, but there is insufficient evidence to recommend this practice. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which recommends eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, provides plenty of magnesium and is also low in sodium, which can raise blood pressure.  (Locked) More »

The lowdown on low sodium

The FDA advises people to consume no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily—about the amount in 1 teaspoon of salt. But the average person consumes about 50% more—3,500 mg per day—with higher intake among men. About 75% of dietary sodium comes from processed and restaurant foods, but men also need to be mindful about everyday items like bread, cold cuts, soup, and poultry, which are often high in sodium even though they may not taste salty. (Locked) More »