Nutrition Articles

Add strength training to your fitness plan

Strength training (also called weight or resistance training) has been linked to several factors that improve heart health. It can help people lose weight—including belly fat, which is particularly harmful to the heart. Strength training also helps lower blood sugar levels and makes the body more sensitive to insulin, both of which can lower the risk of diabetes. High blood pressure may also improve in people who do strength training. Increased muscle mass and changes within muscle cells may explain these benefits. More »

Get cracking: Why you should eat more nuts

Frequent nut eaters are less likely to die of any cause—especially heart disease—than people who rarely eat nuts. Nuts are good sources of protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and fiber. Eating them may help people avoid weight gain, may lower their artery-damaging LDL cholesterol, and may lower their blood pressure, all of which might decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. These potential benefits also apply to peanuts, which are technically not nuts but legumes. But peanuts are similar to tree nuts like walnuts, pecans, almonds, and pistachios in terms of their nutrients. (Locked) More »

Scientifically proven diets that work

Many diets promise weight loss, but the choices narrow with regard to diets that prevent heart disease and stroke. Two backed by extensive research are the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean diet. Both share an emphasis on plant foods and healthy fats. The DASH diet is more specifically targeted to lower blood pressure and provides detailed guidance on what to eat. The Mediterranean diet is a general style of healthy eating rather than a detailed diet plan. (Locked) More »

Should you get your nutrients from food or from supplements?

Nutrients are most potent when they come from food. Supplements may be helpful for people who are unable to get enough nutrients from the diet or who have a genuine deficiency in a particular nutrient, such as vitamin D. A multivitamin may be a good option. It should include vitamin D, B vitamins (especially folate), iron, magnesium, and calcium. Using a multivitamin from a well-known brand that’s been around for a long time means that the vitamin is likely well tested. More »

Should you work chocolate into your diet?

Certain compounds in chocolate, called cocoa flavanols, have been shown to boost health, but the amount of flavanols in chocolate is not always listed. As a general rule, dark chocolate has more cocoa and therefore more flavanols than milk chocolate, but the amount can vary enormously depending on how the chocolate has been processed. The best way to get cocoa flavanols is from unsweetened cocoa powder that has not been processed using the Dutch method. This method includes alkali to reduce acidity, but reduces the flavanol content. (Locked) More »

8 pill-free ways to lower your blood pressure

There are many ways to try to lower blood pressure without medication. Aerobic activity improves the blood vessels’ ability to open and close, which improves blood flow. Losing weight reduces the workload on the heart. Getting rid of refined grains, sugary foods, and saturated fats and replacing them with fresh vegetables and fruits, fiber, whole grains, and lean meats can reduce inflammation and damage to the blood vessel walls. Other ways to reduce blood pressure include smoking cessation, controlling underlying conditions, limiting alcohol intake, and meditation. (Locked) More »

Add soy to your diet, but don't subtract other healthy foods

Soy is a healthy food. The plant, a legume, produces pods filled with soybeans, which are rich in protein, polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A single cup of soybeans provide more than one-third of the daily protein requirement for an active 180-pound man. Soy foods can be part of a healthy diet, depending on what the soy replaces. Eating soy foods instead of things like processed red meat or refined carbohydrates could be a positive change. But if a diet is already relatively healthy, eating soy might not improve diet quality or could even degrade it. Typical soy options you can find in grocery stores include whole green soybean pods (edamame), dry or cooked soybeans, dry-roasted soy nuts, soy milk, tempeh, and tofu. More »

Can diet improve arthritis symptoms?

By: Linda Antinoro, R.D., L.D.N., J.D., C.D.E., Brigham and Women's Hospital, a Harvard affiliated hospital Through the centuries, many claims have been made about the influence of dietary habits and nutritional supplements on arthritis. Some of these claims are supported by medical evidence and some are reasonable theories. However, for most of these claims, we are just not sure. Even without all the proof, there are many healthy nutritional ideas that you can consider. More »