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

Legume of the month: Soybeans

Soybeans are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids. They can be consumed in many different forms: as green soybeans (edamame), soybean oil, soy milk, and tofu. (Locked) More »

Quick-start guide to nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are tiny packages of dense nutrition. They include protein, fiber, healthy fats, and many vitamins and minerals. For example, peanuts and pecans contain lots of B vitamins; almonds are rich in calcium and vitamin E; walnuts have lots of folate, vitamin E, and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid). And all nuts have magnesium. To add more nuts to meals, sprinkle a few into salads, sauces, vegetables, or whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa. Limit nut and seed intake to an ounce or two per day. (Locked) More »

The best beverages for your heart

Sugary beverages such as sodas and lemonade are closely linked to a higher risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Even healthy-sounding beverages such as 100% fruit juice and vitamin water contain as much sugar as regular sodas. The liquid sugars (which contain glucose and fructose) in juice and soda are absorbed and digested quickly. Excess glucose can cause insulin levels to spike, which can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Those risks also rise when people consume too much fructose, which can overload the liver. Excess fructose is converted to fat and dumped into the bloodstream. Coffee, tea, and flavored (unsweetened) water are healthier beverage choices. (Locked) More »

Counting on calories

Men ages 50 and older need anywhere from 2,000 to 2,800 calories per day. The exact amount, however, depends on many individual factors, such as age, weight, height, metabolism, and most important, activity level. Focusing on quality of food instead of quantity by embracing a diet that includes whole grains, nuts, fish, and fruits and vegetables can provide the necessary calories along with the vitamins and other micronutrients men need for an active and healthy life. (Locked) More »

Maximizing home food delivery

There are many options for home food delivery, such as grocery store delivery, restaurant food delivery, and subscription produce clubs. Most services require customers to place orders on a website or smartphone app. When restaurant food arrives, one should make sure it’s still warm, and eat it right away or put it into the refrigerator. If a person isn’t home to receive a delivery of food from the grocery store or from a produce club, food will be left outside, potentially allowing cold items to spoil. So one should try to be home when a delivery is expected. (Locked) More »

Salt sensitivity: Sorting out the science

Eating too much salt usually boosts blood pressure, but not in everyone. Some people are salt-sensitive while others are salt-resistant. The genetic basis of these differences involve a variety of mechanisms. Some genetic variants affect an enzyme called renin, which is secreted and stored in the kidneys. Others influence the production of aldosterone (a hormone that increases blood volume) or affect the transport of sodium and other minerals within the body. A better understanding of these variants may one day improve treatment of high blood pressure. (Locked) More »