Healthy Eating

Why keep a food diary?

For those looking to improve their diet or lose weight, keeping a food diary is a useful tool. Recording information for at least a week will help people identify habits and patterns that will help them set realistic goals.

Dairy: Health food or health risk?

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Are dairy products good for us, or not? There’s a lot of conflicting information. Dairy products are good sources of calcium, protein, and vitamin D, but choosing lower-fat versions is still probably better for overall health.

Going Mediterranean to prevent heart disease

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

A Mediterranean-style diet has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. In terms of healthy habits, it’s one of the best choices you can make, and adopting it into an everyday, real-life behavior is not as difficult as you might think.

Is there a place for coconut oil in a healthy diet?

With contradictory information circulating about the alleged benefits or hazards of coconut oil, it’s helpful to know more about what it is, why its use has been encouraged, and the arguments against its use.

Heart disease and breast cancer: Can women cut risk for both?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

While they share many risk factors, far more women are living with heart disease than with breast cancer. Exercise and a healthy diet can cut a woman’s risk for both.

Benefits of a healthy diet — with or without weight loss

Can you improve your health by changing your diet, even if you are unable to lose weight? Three studies examined different variations on the DASH diet, and all found improvements in blood pressure, plus lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in one instance — even without weight loss.

Heart failure and salt: The great debate

While doctors typically recommend restricting sodium for heart failure patients, a recent review of studies found limited and inconclusive evidence that a low-salt diet makes a difference. But good judgment tells us that avoiding excess salt is good advice for everyone, not just those with heart failure.

Gut feelings: How food affects your mood

Uma Naidoo, MD

Contributor

Besides causing inflammation and disease, more heavily processed foods can contribute to depression and anxiety through the connection between the gut and the brain. A healthier diet that favors whole foods over processed foods may offer protection against depression.

Eat more plants, fewer animals

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

Research has made it clear that eating a lot of red meat and processed meats increased the risk for heart disease and diabetes. A diet that is mainly plant-based is better for overall health, and it does not mean you have to give up meat entirely.

Can a low-carbohydrate diet help keep weight off?

Researchers found that a low-carbohydrate diet helped people who had lost weight to avoid regaining it, but the length of time the participants were studied may not have been sufficient to affirm the results. Still, reducing carbohydrate intake may be a good idea if you are trying to keep off lost weight.