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

The boozy business meal: Costly for your heart?

People who follow a “social-business” eating pattern (marked by frequent snacking and restaurant meals featuring meat, sugary drinks, and alcohol) may be more likely to develop early signs of heart disease than people with healthier diets.  More »

An easy way to soup up your diet

Soup may have hidden health risks. Many store-bought and some restaurant soups contain unnatural ingredients, such as preservatives, or unhealthy ingredients such as saturated fat, sodium, or sugar. It’s best to avoid prepared soups, although they’re okay on occasion, within limits. Aim for less than 500 calories, 600 mg of sodium, 5 grams of saturated fat, and 5 grams of added sugar in a bowl of soup. The healthiest soups are made from scratch, without fatty cream-based broths. (Locked) More »

Cancer and diet: What’s the connection?

Much research has suggested that certain foods and nutrients may help prevent—or, conversely, contribute to—certain types of cancer. While it is not 100% certain that consuming more or less of certain foods or nutrients will guarantee cancer protection, science has found that processed meats, high-glycemic-index foods, calcium, and antioxidant-rich foods may have the greatest influence on a person’s risk.  (Locked) More »

Choking alert: Strategies for safe swallowing

Swallowing problems, known as dysphagia, can enable food or liquid to get into the lungs. This can cause pneumonia. Dysphagia may be age-related, or it may be caused by neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease; stroke; mouth or throat cancer; neck injury; or breathing problems. Warning signs include coughing and choking during meals, recurrent lung infections, shortness of breath when eating, and a gurgly sound in the voice. Swallowing therapy can help reduce dysphagia risks, as can strategies such as taking smaller bites, clearing the throat between bites, and tucking the chin to the chest while swallowing. (Locked) More »

The benefits of vitamin pills and chocolate

Although theoretically multivitamins and chocolate might reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers, proof is lacking. A new randomized trial called COSMOS will test whether multivitamin pills and cocoa pills have health benefits. (Locked) More »

The Nutrition Facts label finally gets a makeover

Upcoming changes to the Nutrition Facts panel may help consumers choose more nutritious foods and drive the food industry to make products healthier. One important update is the inclusion of added sugars, because excess sugar in the diet can contribute to heart disease. Other label changes may help stem weight gain, which raises the risk of heart disease. Some serving sizes will change to more closely reflect what people typically consume, and the number of calories per serving will be easier to read.  More »

Whole grains associated with lower death rates

Eating 70 grams (four servings) of whole grains daily may lower your risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a study in Circulation. One serving of 100% whole-grain food contains about 16 grams. Examples include one slice of 100% whole-grain bread or a half cup of oatmeal or cooked whole-grain pasta.  More »