Health Library

Categories > Diet and Nutrition > Healthy eating

Healthy eating, A to Z

Almonds: Including a handful of walnuts or almonds in your diet every day can help you lower your cholesterol and may lower your risk of heart disease.

Berries: They’re small, but blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are packed with a large variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals that help fight cancer, according to a growing body of research.

Clementines: These oranges are easy to peel on the go, are loaded with vitamin C and are an excellent source of folate, which helps prevent birth defects.

Dairy: Milk, cheese and other dairy products can help you build strong bones, lose weight and even reduce your risk of gum disease. Choose low-fat or nonfat varieties.

Edamame: Snack on these boiled soybeans straight from the pod. They boost brain function, ward off hot flashes and may reduce the risk of heart disease and breast and prostate cancers.

Fiber: Eating the recommended amount of dietary fiber will not only keep you regular, it can help you lose weight and lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. The best sources include fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains.

Gum: Chew a stick to lose weight or de-stress. Chewing gum before snacking can reduce your subsequent calorie intake, according to one study, and it can relieve tension in stressful situations, like driving in traffic.

Hummus: This tasty Middle Eastern staple is available at supermarkets nationwide. Made from garbanzo beans, hummus is high in fiber, protein, iron and folate. Enjoy with whole-wheat pita.

Iron: You need iron to make hemoglobin, which brings oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body; a deficiency can lead to anemia. Eggs, beans, red meats, oysters and iron-fortified breakfast cereals are excellent sources.

Juice: Don’t drink too much juice; the extra calories can really add up. Try cooking your meat or poultry in fruit juice, not pan drippings, to lower your cholesterol.

Kale: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and kale are high in fiber, calcium, vitamin C and beta carotene, and they may help prevent colon cancer.

Lentils: Research has shown that people who regularly eat these tasty legumes consume more fiber, folate and iron and less fat.

Margarine: It’s better for your heart than butter and has more unsaturated fats and no cholesterol. Buy it in tub form, rather than by the stick, for less trans fat.

Nut butter: Build a heart-healthy, grown-up PB&J with whole-wheat bread, sugar-free jelly and almond butter, cashew butter or macadamia butter. The nuts’ good fats can help lower cholesterol.

Omega-3s: These unsaturated fatty acids can lower your cholesterol and may reduce your risk of heart disease. Good sources include fatty fish (like salmon), walnuts and ground flaxseed.

Pomegranates: Drink up! Preliminary research indicates that antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice helps lower your cholesterol.

Quinoa: Try this South American side dish to vary the whole grains you eat, which contribute to a high-fiber diet.

Reds: Bright red fruits like tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit contain lycopene, an antioxidant that is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and prostate cancer.

Soup: Trying to lose weight? Begin your meal with a low-calorie broth. Research shows that soup fills you up, prompting you to eat fewer calories during the rest of the meal.

Turkey: Lean protein like skinless turkey, in conjunction with a healthy diet, can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Trim visible fat before cooking, and bake or broil instead of frying.

Unsaturated fats: You need some fat in your diet (about 25 percent to 35 percent of your calories), but it’s best to avoid unhealthy trans fats and hydrogenated fats. The wisest choices are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, found in nuts, fish and avocados.

Vegetables: Most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables. To lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers, choose more salads, garnish your sandwiches with greens and test out new flavors in the produce aisle.

Wine: If you drink a glass of red wine every night with dinner, you’re likely lowering your risk of heart disease. Studies have found that red wine contains substances that increase HDL (good) cholesterol, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and protect the heart’s blood vessel linings.

Xylitol: You may not have heard of this artificial sweetener, which is a common ingredient in sugar-free gum. Chewing gum that contains xylitol (instead of an ordinary stick of gum) not only helps you consume less sugar, it prevents cavities.

Yogurt: Packed with protein and calcium, yogurt gives you energy and helps keep your bones strong. If you eat yogurt with live, active cultures regularly, you’ll keep your digestive system running smoothly, give your immune system a boost and protect yourself from cancer.

Zinc: This mineral helps wounds heal properly. Red meats, dark-meat chicken, peanuts and beans are good sources.