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

Calcium and vitamin D supplements: Good, bad, or neutral for cardiovascular health?

Evidence about the cardiovascular effects of calcium and vitamin D supplements has been mixed. Although some studies suggest that taking calcium supplements may raise heart disease risk, others do not. Low blood levels of vitamin D have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. But taking vitamin D supplements does not appear to lower that risk. Some evidence hints that taking calcium and vitamin D together might slightly increase the risk of stroke. However, the largest study to date found no increased stroke risk. And there is no evidence that food sources of these nutrients have any harmful effects on heart health. (Locked) More »

Grain or seed of the month: Wheat

About 75% of all grain products in this country are made with wheat. But most contain highly processed white flour, which is less nutritious than options such as 100% whole-wheat bread or bulgur wheat. More »

Rural health risks?

People in rural areas were more likely to die of preventable causes than those living in urban areas, according to a CDC report. More »

What’s the beef with red meat?

A recent study concluded that the quality of existing evidence that red and processed meats are harmful is “low” and advised that people should not change their red meat habits for health reasons. Yet the science community has rebutted this, and international health organizations continue to suggest that lowering red meat consumption can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature death. (Locked) More »

Can you explain the red meat debate?

While a recent study claimed that people shouldn't worry about how much red and processed meat they eat, its credibility is questionable, and it is still prudent to eat these foods sparingly. (Locked) More »

Great grains, super seeds

Whole grains and seeds contain many healthful nutrients. Eating them has been linked to a wide range of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol and reducing chronic inflammation. (Locked) More »

Omega-3 supplements may improve heart health

A review of existing data suggests daily omega-3 supplements may protect against heart attack and death from coronary artery disease. This suggests that supplements might be an alternative for people who have trouble getting enough omega-3s from fish in their diet. More »

The difference a healthy diet can make

Eating a plant-based diet may help prevent heart disease. For most people, this means focusing more on adding more whole grains, nuts, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) vegetables, and fruits to their daily fare. The fiber and other nutrients in these foods help people lose weight, lower their cholesterol and blood pressure, and perhaps even reverse their diabetes. Although avoiding meat, eggs, and other animal-based foods may help, not everyone is willing to give up those foods completely. But even small dietary shifts can help. (Locked) More »