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

Can these three steps save 100 million lives?

A worldwide push to lower blood pressure, reduce sodium intake, and stop eating trans fat could delay more than 94 million deaths from cardiovascular disease in the next 25 years, finds a study published online June 10, 2019, by Circulation. More »

Food ingredients under the microscope

New technology is allowing scientists to better understand how food ingredients and additives affect the body. Scientists recently found that one additive, propionate, which is used as a preservative in many food products including bread and other baked goods, may trigger an unhealthy surge in blood sugar that can lead to diabetes and obesity. Researchers are doing more studies on the preservative to confirm these initial findings. More »

How to adopt a Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet has been touted for its heart- and cancer-fighting abilities, and countless studies have backed up its reputation as one of the world’s healthiest diets. The best way to adopt the Mediterranean diet is add more of its staple foods into every meal as much as possible, so the eating pattern eventually feels like a lifestyle and not a structured, rules-oriented diet. More »

Legume of the month: Soybeans

Legume of the month: Soybeans Unlike many other common bean varieties, soybeans don't usually show up in canned or dried forms on super­market shelves. But other versions of this versatile legume can be found in many sections of well-stocked stores. In the freezer section, for example, you can find packaged green soybeans, usually still in their pods (pictured above). Called edamame — a Japanese word meaning "stem beans" — they're commonly served as an appetizer in Asian restaurants. Squeeze the pods to pop out the bright green beans, which are good source of fiber and several vitamins, most notably B9 (folate) and K. Soybeans are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids. More »

Quick-start guide to nuts and seeds

Quick-start guide to nuts and seeds Tiny but mighty, nuts and seeds deliver a protein, fiber, and nutrient punch with every bite. Fall and winter are on the way, along with the traditions of baking pumpkin seeds after carving jack-o-lanterns or roasting chestnuts over an open fire. But you don't have to go to all that trouble to increase your intake of nuts and seeds. Just bone up on some of the most nutritious choices, and start crunching your way to better health. More »

Red meat, TMAO, and your heart

Researchers are finding that a substance called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), produced when the body digests red meat, is linked to health ills such as cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. Experts say people with high levels of TMAO in their blood may have double the risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with people who have lower levels. More »

The best beverages for your heart

The best beverages for your heart Sweet drinks go down easy, but they may be hard on your heart. Aside from plain water, the healthiest choices are unsweetened tea, coffee, and flavored waters. When you want to quench your thirst with something a little more exciting than plain old water, there are a dizzying array of choices these days. However, many of the beverages in supermarkets and convenience store aisles are loaded with added sugar. Even many of those that sound healthy (such as 100% fruit juice and vitamin-enhanced water) contain as much sugar as regular sodas. More »

Ultra-processed foods linked to poor heart health

Ultra-processed foods linked to poor heart health Research we're watching Eating ultra-processed foods — such as packaged snacks, sugary cereals and drinks, chicken nuggets, and instant soup — may leave people more prone to heart disease and an early death, two new studies suggest. Both were published May 29 in The BMJ. More »