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

A heart-healthy diet doesn’t need to be low in fat

Over the past decade, nutrition experts have shifted away from recommending a low-fat diet to focusing more on an overall healthy dietary pattern. This eating style, which includes lots of plant-based foods, is naturally low in saturated fats. Found mainly in meat and dairy products, saturated fat can boost levels of harmful LDL cholesterol, a key contributor to heart disease. Cutting back on all types of fat does not necessarily translate into a diet that lowers cardiovascular risk. The plant-centric Mediterranean eating pattern, which is rich in healthy unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, and olives, has the best evidence for lowering heart disease risk. More »

Moderate amounts of coffee are the best

Drinking no more than four or five 8-ounce cups of coffee per day—equal to about 400 milligrams of caffeine—helps people get the drink’s health benefits with a lower risk of caffeine side effects like anxiety and nervousness. More »

The new-old way to treat gout

The American College of Rheumatology recently released updated guidelines on how to best treat gout and prevent future flare-ups. They included first-line treatments like anti-inflammatory medications and ice therapy. A combination of diet and lifestyle changes and medications (including urate lowering therapy, or ULT) —is typically recommended if attacks recur or become chronic. (Locked) More »

Grain of the month: Brown rice

Compared with white rice, brown rice contains much higher amounts of fiber, certain B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Research suggests that swapping white rice for brown rice may improve blood sugar levels and help with weight control. More »

Stop counting calories

Experts are learning that the old idea of calories in, calories out, isn’t necessarily accurate or the best way to lose weight. Even careful calorie calculations don’t always yield uniform results. How a person’s body burns calories depends on a number of factors, including the type of food eaten, metabolism, and even the presence of certain gut microorganisms. The truth is that two people can eat the exact same number of calories and have very different outcomes when it comes to weight. More »

The thinking on flavonoids

Flavonoids, a class of micronutrients found in most plant foods, have been shown to possibly reduce the risk of dementia by protecting brain cells, improving blood flow, and reducing inflammation. Following a plant-based diet and aiming for at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day can help people get sufficient amounts of flavonoids. (Locked) More »

Tofu may help your heart

Tofu may be good for the heart. A study published in March 2020 in the journal Circulation found that people who ate at least one weekly serving of tofu or another food containing isoflavones (a compound found in soybeans and other legumes) had an 18% lower risk of developing heart and blood vessel disease than people who ate these foods less than once a month. These foods appeared particularly beneficial to premenopausal women and women who had gone through menopause but weren’t using hormone replacement therapy. Experts recommend substituting these foods for less healthy protein options such as red or processed meats. (Locked) More »