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

Healthy habits mean more disease-free years

An observational study published online Jan. 8, 2020, by The BMJ suggests that people who follow four or five healthy habits have an additional decade of disease-free living, compared with people who don’t follow any healthy lifestyle habits. More »

The dairy dilemma

Federal guidelines recommend two to three servings of low-fat or nonfat milk, cheese, or yogurt per day. However, some experts suggest limiting dairy to a single serving per day. Although fat from dairy products does not seem to increase heart disease risk, substituting fat from vegetables or vegetable oil for some dairy fat may lower a person’s risk. As more people move toward plant-based diets, popular alternatives for milk include almond and oat milk. (Locked) More »

The far-reaching effects of a little bit of weight loss

Losing 5% of one’s total body weight can result in clinically significant physiologic changes. For example, losing a little weight can reduce heartburn, knee pain, blood pressure, and diabetes risk. Losing 5% of one’s body weight may also lead to better sexual function, more restorative sleep, extra energy, and more self-esteem. To reach a 5% reduction in total body weight, it helps to exercise; eat a healthy diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds; and get enough sleep. (Locked) More »

Home cooking with less salt

Home cooking using fresh, unprocessed foods and eating lower-sodium versions of dressings and condiments can help people eat less sodium. Most Americans still consume far too much of the mineral, which raises blood pressure. Other tips to lower sodium include rinsing canned beans, vegetables, and tuna fish before using; not adding salt to the water when cooking pasta, rice, or other grains; and using fresh herbs, spices, citrus juice, or vinegar to enhance flavor instead of salt. When baking, people can use baking powder made with potassium bicarbonate instead of sodium bicarbonate. More »

Plant milk or cow’s milk: Which is better for you?

There is no health reason to switch from cow’s milk to a plant-based alternative. But people who do want to switch should ensure that the product they choose has a nutritional profile similar to cow’s milk. Some plant-based milks contain similar nutrients. Others fall short, particularly on protein. People should also try to avoid products with extra sugar and other additives. (Locked) More »

Seed of the month: Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are shiny, reddish or golden-brown seeds that have a slightly nutty taste. They contain healthful nutrients such as linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. (Locked) More »

The best breads in the grocery store

Healthy breads are made of whole grains and have a short ingredients list. To find a healthy bread in a grocery store, one should read the ingredients list to make sure whole grains are used, and read the Nutrition Facts label to make sure each slice (or 28-gram serving) contains no more than 80 calories, less than 100 milligrams of sodium, at least 3 grams of fiber, less than 3 grams of sugar (and zero added sugar), 15 grams of carbohydrates, and no saturated fat. (Locked) More »

The bitter truth about added sugar

American adults consume an average of 77 grams (almost 20 teaspoons) of sugar per day. A little extra sugar may seem harmless, but the amounts can add up and, over time, contribute to a variety of health issues, like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Avoiding high-sugar foods by reading labels and cutting out sugar-sweetened beverages are the best ways to lower intake of added sugar. (Locked) More »