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

Fish, not fish oil, prevents stroke

People consuming two servings of fish per week had a lower risk of stroke compared to people who ate one serving or less. Omega-3 fatty acid intake, such as from dietary supplements, is not associated with lower risk for stroke. (Locked) More »

Mindful eating 101

Eating too fast and without paying attention is unhealthy. It can cause you to take in more calories in a single sitting than you need. Taking in large amounts of saturated fat into your system makes your arteries less able to respond to momentary changes in demand for blood. A mindful approach to meals brings more enjoyment to eating and reduces overeating and the negative health impacts. Practicing mindfulness beyond meals can promote general stress relief and enhance health and well being. (Locked) More »

Resolution: Eat your way to a healthy heart

A heart-healthy diet is low in salt and saturated fats and high in soluble fiber and nutrients. Making heart-healthy changes to your diet is not difficult, if you make only one change a month. Start eating a broth-based vegetable soup for dinner once a week; then try steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast. Switch out white bread for whole-grain or multigrain bread, and begin cooking with olive oil instead of butter. Replace meat with fish twice a week, enjoy seasonal fruits and berries, and eat a bite of dark chocolate for dessert instead of ice cream. A tomato a day may keep the doctor away. Replace snack foods with nuts, use ground soy instead of ground beef in casseroles, serve roasted vegetables instead of potatoes or rice, and replace half the white flour in your baked goods with whole-wheat pastry flour. You’ll discover foods that taste so good you’ll never go back to eating the same old way again. More »

What you should know about: Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble essential nutrient found in highest concentration in fruits (particularly citrus), green vegetables, and tomatoes. It’s necessary for bone structure, iron absorption, skin integrity, and immune function. Evidence shows vitamin C doesn’t help fight the common cold if taken after cold symptoms start. However, if taken for prevention, it may help reduce the length of a cold. The preferred way to get vitamin C is from food sources, not supplements. (Locked) More »

Backed-up bowels? Don't get stuck on daily "regularity"

Not having a bowel movement every day does not always indicate a problem. It is more important that bowel movements are free of pain or straining. To address constipation, first make sure you get adequate dietary fiber. Use fiber supplements if it is not possible to get sufficient fiber from food. Also check for the constipating effects of common medications. If you must use a laxative, start with gentle osmotic laxatives and avoid stimulant laxatives.   (Locked) More »

High blood sugar linked to brain shrinkage

Blood sugar on the high end of the normal range may be linked to brain shrinkage in areas associated with memory and thinking. It’s not clear if blood sugar causes the problem, but having a high normal glucose level at age 60 or older can potentially serve as a useful marker of impending neurodegeneration. A fasting blood level of 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates “prediabetes” and increased risk for developing diabetes. A fasting level of 126 mg/dL or higher signifies diabetes.   (Locked) More »

How to prevent clots in the legs and lungs

Deep- vein thrombosis (DVT) refers to clots that form in the large veins of the arms, legs, or pelvis. A clot that breaks off and blocks blood flow in the lungs can cause a deadly condition called pulmonary embolism (PE). Addressing risk factors for heart disease help to prevent both DVT and PE: Eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke, and exercise regularly. If DVT or PE strikes, anticlotting drugs (anticoagulants) can treat it. Some people may need to take anticoagulants indefinitely to prevent a second vein clot. A new generation of anticoagulants are becoming available that are easier to use and may be more effective than the standard medication, called warfarin (Coumadin).   (Locked) More »

Making peace with holiday buffets

It’s easy to eat too much and gain weight during the holidays, but planning ahead makes a difference. Partygoers can be sure of a healthy dish if they bring their own food to a party. Other strategies include using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, eating slowly, sipping water between bites, and drinking a limited amount of alcohol only during meals.   (Locked) More »