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

Adult food allergies

Sometimes adults suddenly develop allergies to foods they have eaten since they were children. Experts have two explanations for food allergies that crop up in adulthood. They may be the result of a delayed or extended period of sensitization to an allergen or a cross-reaction to some other allergen, such as pollen. The body's immune system mistakes a protein for the pollen and initiates a reaction. (Locked) More »

Fiber on a winning streak

Eating high-fiber foods helps lower cholesterol, and research is now suggesting that it may also help protect against respiratory and infectious diseases. (Locked) More »

More dietary advice

I read the column about dietary guidelines and caloric percentages, but I'm not a math guy. Any chance you could put it in English for me? (Locked) More »

Sodium, potassium together influence heart health

Sodium in table salt boosts blood pressure and contributes to cardiovascular disease. Potassium keeps blood pressure in check. A new report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggests that — more sodium than potassium — contributes to heart disease and premature death. Here are some foods rich in potassium and low in sodium. (Locked) More »

Stress and overeating

Stress hormones trigger increased appetite in general, and cravings for fatty, sugary foods in particular. Once ingested, fat- and sugar-filled foods seem to have a feedback effect that inhibits activity in the parts of the brain that produce and process stress and related emotions. So part of our stress-induced craving for those foods may be that they counteract stress.   (Locked) More »

Dietary guidelines and caloric percentages

I really appreciate the dietary guidelines that you publish from time to time, but my wife and I find it hard to do the math in a busy supermarket. Can you give us targets that are easier to use than "percentages of daily calories"? (Locked) More »