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

Are you missing this simple treatment for restless legs?

Brain iron deficiency should be one of the first considerations when looking for a cause of restless legs syndrome (RLS). However, many doctors don’t know that iron deficiency is one cause of RLS, and therefore don’t test for it, particularly in men, in whom iron deficiency is uncommon. Diagnosing low brain iron is tricky, because doctors have to infer it from blood levels. Several tests are used to measure iron in the blood. The most important for diagnosing iron deficiency measures ferritin, the primary form of stored iron in the blood. (Locked) More »

Home cooking for better heart health

Preparing home-cooked, plant-based meals is simpler than most people realize. A simple recipe formula features legumes (such as lentils or beans) combined with cooked whole grains (such as bulgur wheat or brown rice) and raw or cooked vegetables, served hot, warm, or cold. To save time, people can prepare large amounts of dried beans and whole grains. Flavor enhancers include olive oil, lemon juice, and dried or fresh fruits, as well as spices and fresh herbs. (Locked) More »

How to spot the most common “food fakes”

Marketing claims on food packages can be misleading. For example, a claim may say that a product is made with real fruit, even if it actually contains only a small amount of real fruit. The easiest way to a healthy diet is to eat whole or minimally processed foods whenever possible, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and vegetable oils. When buying processed products, one should look at the ingredients list and the Nutrition Facts label, buy products that have the fewest ingredients, and choose products that contain familiar ingredients. (Locked) More »

Legume of the month

To cook dried beans, soak beans overnight in cold water, drain and rinse, then cook in fresh water until tender. Preparing large batches of a pound or so and freezing recipe-sized containers of cooked beans can simplify dinner preparations. (Locked) More »

Gifts to inspire healthy eating

There are many gift ideas to inspire healthy eating. Kitchen tools—such as a stem stripper or mezzaluna knife—may encourage a person to eat more vegetables. Someone who has trouble getting food to his or her mouth because of tremors may appreciate a gift of adaptive eating utensils. Other gift ideas to inspire healthy eating include small appliances that help create healthy meals, such as a spiralizer, a frozen fruit dessert maker, or an air fryer. When shopping for a gift, one should consider the recipient’s dietary needs, dexterity, and physical ability. (Locked) More »

Legumes: A quick and easy switch to improve your diet

Eating too much red meat may raise the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even some types of cancer. Substituting some servings of red meat with legumes can provide similar nutrition, but less saturated fat. Legumes include beans, peas, and even peanuts and are a great source of plant protein. (Locked) More »

Season of receiving: Use free services to stay independent

Nonprofit groups offer many types of health-related services. Examples at the local level include low-cost dental clinics, emotional support groups, meal or grocery delivery services, transportation, in-home health evaluations, exercise classes, health education classes, home evaluations for fall prevention, companion programs, and caregiver respite services. Examples at the state or national level include services to link people to free or low-cost prescription medications, hearing aids, and gently used home medical equipment. To find such services, one can ask for referrals at a doctor’s office, a local senior center, or a local Area Agency on Aging. More »