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

Confused about carbs?

Low-carb diets, which swap carbohydrates for protein or fat, have been popular off and on for decades. The long-term cardiovascular effects remain unclear, but the source and amount of proteins and fats (in addition to carbs) also play a role. Diets that include more animal-based protein and fats (such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and cheese) instead of carbohydrates have been linked to a greater risk of early death. In contrast, diets that include more plant-based proteins and fats (from vegetables, legumes, and nuts) have been linked to a lower risk. (Locked) More »

Gifts to inspire healthy eating

There are many gift ideas to inspire healthy eating. Kitchen tools—such as a stem stripper or mezzaluna knife—may encourage a person to eat more vegetables. Someone who has trouble getting food to his or her mouth because of tremors may appreciate a gift of adaptive eating utensils. Other gift ideas to inspire healthy eating include small appliances that help create healthy meals, such as a spiralizer, a frozen fruit dessert maker, or an air fryer. When shopping for a gift, one should consider the recipient’s dietary needs, dexterity, and physical ability. (Locked) More »

Legumes: A quick and easy switch to improve your diet

Eating too much red meat may raise the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even some types of cancer. Substituting some servings of red meat with legumes can provide similar nutrition, but less saturated fat. Legumes include beans, peas, and even peanuts and are a great source of plant protein. (Locked) More »

Season of receiving: Use free services to stay independent

Nonprofit groups offer many types of health-related services. Examples at the local level include low-cost dental clinics, emotional support groups, meal or grocery delivery services, transportation, in-home health evaluations, exercise classes, health education classes, home evaluations for fall prevention, companion programs, and caregiver respite services. Examples at the state or national level include services to link people to free or low-cost prescription medications, hearing aids, and gently used home medical equipment. To find such services, one can ask for referrals at a doctor’s office, a local senior center, or a local Area Agency on Aging. More »

Vegetable of the month: Broccoli

A versatile vegetable, broccoli keeps well and can be cooked many different ways, in soups, stir-fries, pastas, and casseroles. It’s high in several vitamins and is a good source of potassium and fiber. More »

Don’t let winter put a chill on your vegetable intake

American women are falling short when it comes to eating the recommended daily amount of vegetables, according to the CDC. Fewer vegetable options and higher prices may make it even less likely that women will get enough during the winter months. Strategies such as trying new varieties and buying frozen vegetables can help women get the recommended amount. (Locked) More »