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Nov 23

Meat-free diets linked with greater risk of breaking bones – New Scientist

By Clare Wilson

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People who dont eat meat are more at risk of breaking bones, especially their hips, according to the largest study yet of this risk. The effect may stem from a lack of calcium and protein in their diet, as well as the fact that they tend to be thinner and so have less flesh to cushion a fall.

Several previous studies have shown that vegetarians have weaker bones than meat eaters, but it was unclear if this had any meaningful effect on their risk of fractures.

The new research took advantage of a long-running study called EPIC-Oxford, originally set up to look at whether diet influences the risk of cancer by following the health of about 65,000 people in the UK from 1993 onwards. The study recorded peoples typical diet and tracked their health through hospital records.


By 2010, vegans had broken a hip at over twice the rate of meat eaters, while vegetarians and fish eaters had a smaller increase in risk, of about 25 per cent. Vegans but not vegetarians and pescetarians also had a higher risk of breaking other bones.

The overall level of risk to vegans was relatively small, equating to about an extra 20 bones broken per 1000 people over 10 years. But the fracture rate is likely to be higher in the elderly, who break hips more often, as the average age of participants at the start was 45, says researcher Tammy Tong at the University of Oxford.

When peoples diets were analysed, meat eaters consumed more calcium and protein. Calcium is an important component of bones, and protein may aid calcium absorption from food. Unless they are actively supplementing, its quite unlikely that vegans will have a sufficient intake of calcium just from the diet, says Tong.

But it is possible that people eating a vegan diet today may have higher calcium levels. In the 1990s, there was less fortification of plant milks, she says.

Heather Russell, a dietitian at the Vegan Society in the UK, says: Its certainly possible to look after your bones on a well-planned vegan diet, but people need information to make healthy choices.

Studying the same group of people has previously shown that being vegetarian is linked with about a 10 per cent lower risk of cancer after 15 years, and about a 20 per cent lower rate of heart disease but also a 20 per cent higher risk of a stroke.

Journal reference: BMC Medicine, DOI: 10.1186/s12916-020-01815-3

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Meat-free diets linked with greater risk of breaking bones - New Scientist

Nov 23

Eating a Mediterranean diet may reduce the effects of stress – Medical News Today

A study has found that middle-aged monkeys fed a plant-based Mediterranean diet were more resilient to stress than those fed a Western diet containing a lot of animal protein, saturated fat, salt, and sugar.

According to a survey by the polling organization Gallup in 2019, people living in the United States reported some of the highest levels of psychological stress in the world.

Chronic stress not only increases a persons risk of depression and anxiety but also their chances of developing diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and Alzheimers.

Reducing stress is not easy at the best of times, however, and it is even more difficult in the face of circumstances such as political turmoil and an ongoing pandemic.

The idea that simply changing our diets could improve how our bodies cope with stress may seem far-fetched. But observational studies have found that people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables or, specifically, follow a Mediterranean diet, report less stress.

Conversely, researchers have discovered associations between high sugar and saturated fat intake and high blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

The trouble with such studies is that they do not prove a causal relationship between the diet and stress. Other factors that might influence peoples diets, such as where they live, their level of education, or their socioeconomic status, are equally likely to determine how much stress they experience daily.

Controlling for all these variables in a longitudinal study involving people is all but impossible.

Instead, researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, in Winston-Salem, NC, compared the long-term effects of a typical Western diet with those of a Mediterranean diet on stress resilience in macaques under controlled experimental conditions.

Unfortunately, Americans consume a diet rich in animal protein and saturated fat, salt, and sugar, so we wanted to find out if that diet worsened the bodys response to stress, compared to a Mediterranean diet, in which much of the protein and fat come from plant sources, says Carol A. Shively, a professor of pathology and comparative medicine at the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the studys principal investigator.

Prof. Shively and colleagues found that monkeys fed a Mediterranean diet were more resilient to the effects of stress and were slower to develop age-related increases in stress sensitivity.

Their study has been published in the journal Neurobiology of Stress.

The researchers compared the effects of two diets on 38 middle-aged female macaques over a period of 31 months, which is roughly equivalent to 9 human years.

They formulated their experimental Western diet to be similar to that consumed by middle-aged American women. It contained protein and fat mainly from animal sources, and it was high in salt and saturated fats and low in monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids.

The Mediterranean diet contained protein and fats derived mainly from plants, some lean protein from fish and dairy, and a high monounsaturated fat content, which came principally from extra virgin olive oil. The diet incorporated more complex carbohydrates and fiber and less salt and refined sugars than the Western diet.

The scientists report that the Mediterranean diets ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids was similar to a traditional hunter-gatherer-type diet.

Both of the studys diets had equivalent contents in terms of calories and cholesterol.

In the course of the experiment, the animals eating the Western diet ate more, accumulated more fat tissue, and had a different profile of gut bacteria, compared with those who received the Mediterranean diet. They also developed greater insulin resistance and fatty liver disease.

To determine the interaction between diet and the effects of chronic stress, the researchers took advantage of the stable social hierarchy that groups of female macaques naturally establish.

They explain that the monkeys with a subordinate status in the group are more likely to be a target of aggression and less likely to be groomed, and they spend more time fearfully scanning the group.

The scientists created brief, acute stress by isolating individuals from the rest of the group for 30 minutes at a time.

The macaques on the Mediterranean diet were more physiologically resilient to these stress challenges. Activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which enacts the fight or flight response, was lower compared with that of the animals on the Western diet.

In response to acute stress, their heart rate recovered more rapidly and they produced less of the stress hormone cortisol.

This suggests a stronger response from their parasympathetic nervous system, which enacts a relaxation response to restore the body to a restful state after a stressful experience.

Cortisol responses and activity in the sympathetic nervous system increase as an animal ages, but in the animals that ate the Mediterranean diet, these changes were delayed, compared with those on the Western diet.

Our study showed that the Mediterranean diet shifted the balance toward the parasympathetic nervous system, which is good for health, says Prof. Shively. By contrast, the Western diet increased the sympathetic response to stress, which is like having the panic button on all the time and that isnt healthy.

The studys authors conclude:

Based on the findings reported here, the Mediterranean diet pattern may serve as a dietary strategy to reduce the deleterious effects of stress on health without the side effects of medications typically prescribed to manage stress responsivity, and [adopting it] may have a significant public health impact.

It is worth noting, however, that the effects of different diets on stress in monkeys may not closely reflect their effects in humans.

The researchers also acknowledge that the Mediterranean diet that they created for this experiment had not previously been tested in nonhuman primates. In addition, they say, future investigations need to determine the effects of the diet on stress responses in males.

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Eating a Mediterranean diet may reduce the effects of stress - Medical News Today

Nov 23

Add these winter foods in your diet for healthy and glowing skin – Times of India

The harsh weather during winters can take a toll on the skin. If you want your skin to be problem-free all throughout, then you need to make extra efforts during winters. Instead of just swapping your skincare products, also add healthy foods in your diet! Here's a look at five foods you need to add in your winter diet for healthy and glowing skin:1. AvocadoNot only are avocados good for your overall health, but they are also exceptionally good for your skin. Packed with Vitamin E and healthy oils, avocadoes nourish the skin from the cellular level. Loaded with antioxidants, they can protect your skin from oxidative damage.

2. AlmondsAlmonds are an Indian superfood, which one can easily add to the daily diet. They are full of natural elements that hydrate the skin and prevent it from getting dry. Almonds keep your nails, skin, and even hair healthy. Rich in vitamins, they can help to fight early signs of ageing and moisturise the skin.

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Add these winter foods in your diet for healthy and glowing skin - Times of India

Nov 23

Diabetes Diet: Fruits And Vegetable Sugars: How Are They Different From Regular Sugar? Expert Reveals – NDTV Food

All foods of plant origin contain some amount of natural sugars.


Every health advisory speaks of how we need to reduce sugar consumption in our daily meals to protect ourselves against non-communicable diseases like CVD, Diabetes and Strokes. On the other hand, we are advised to take lots of fruits and vegetables, which also contain sugar; so what is the difference that makes one source a health hazard and another a health benefit? Let's find out!

But before that let me explain a few points:

- Carbohydrates are the major and the most efficient source of energy for our body.

- Carbohydrates are classified as Monosaccharides, Disaccharides and polysaccharides, depending on the number of sugar molecules.

- Monosaccharides include Fructose and Glucose. These are the basic units from which all other complex carbohydrates are made. Di saccharides are two monosaccharides combined and polysaccharides are multiple molecules of monosaccharides combined.

- Table sugar and the sugar most used in processed foods is Sucrose, a di saccharide made up of Fructose and Glucose. Sucrose is metabolised through similar processes in our body irrespective of its source.

- All foods of plant origin contain some amount of natural sugars.

- The total carbohydrates in a fruits rage from 1-20g/100 g edible portion and in vegetables rage from 1-25g/ 100gm edible portion approximately. These include simple sugars, starch and fibre.

There isn't any difference between the natural sugars and the one that is added externally (chemically). The main difference is that sugars from whole fruits and vegetables come packaged with lots of health-boosting nutrients. They are released slowly in the blood preventing a sugar rush.

Commercially available sugars like rice sugar, beet sugar, agave nectar all come from plants. These are extracted, concentrated before being used commercially. This means a higher more refined version of the same sugars that are absorbed very soon and as the quantity added is larger than a normal serving. High amounts of sugar in the blood means more insulin, and we know that constant high insulin in the blood causes serious damage and oxidative stress.

(Also Read:Diabetes? Here's The Ultimate Low-Sugar Fruit Salad You Need This Season)

The two sugars present in fruits include Fructose and Glucose.

All fruits contain simple sugars. The two sugars present in fruits include Fructose and Glucose. These may be in different ratios in various fruits; approximately they are present in 1:1 ratio. Glucose raises blood sugar directly while fructose is metabolised through the liver. While consuming a whole fruit the body, in addition to some amount of sugar, gets a huge dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. All of these are essential for healthy living and for protection against infections and NCDs. And hence, while refined sugars are just empty calories, fruit sugars come with nutrients and are hence a healthier choice to make. Meaning, if you are a diabetic, it is safe for you to consume fruits, but in moderation.

(Also Read:6 Winter Vegetables That May Help Manage Diabetes Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic)

Vegetables also contain simple sugars Fructose, Glucose and Sucrose (also known as table sugar). The quantity of sugars in the vegetable is negligible. Most vegetables contain little or no sugar and are loaded with health-giving vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Vegetables are, for this reason, very low in total calories and high on nutrition. It is recommended that everyone gets at least 3 servings a day. Roots and tubers also counted as vegetables have a higher amount of sugar in them.

Beetroot, yam, tapioca, potato and sweet potato have higher sugars and are restricted while calorie counting.

Bottom line: Eat 5 servings of whole seasonal fruits and vegetables daily. Choose fruit to satiate your sugar cravings. Read labels on processed foods to see the hidden sugars like agave syrup, coconut sugar, sweet beet syrup. Maple syrup, golden syrup, Molasses, maltodextrin among others.

Eat fresh, eat nutrient-rich foods and stay healthy!



The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

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Diabetes Diet: Fruits And Vegetable Sugars: How Are They Different From Regular Sugar? Expert Reveals - NDTV Food

Nov 23

MedDiet cuts diabetes risk by a third in 25-year Women’s Health Study – Clinical Daily News – McKnight’s Long Term Care News

The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of diabetes by 30% in women who are overweight or obese, according to a new analysis of the Womens Health Study.

Investigators collected health data from healthcare professionals over 25 years starting in 1993. Food frequency questionnaires and blood samples showed that participants who consumed more foods from the Mediterrenean diet early in the study had a 30% lower rate of type 2 diabetes than women who did not, said investigators from Brigham and Womens Hospital, Boston.

But this effect was seen only among women with a body mass index greater than 25, a threshold indicating that someone is clinically overweight or obese. It was not seen in participants whose BMI was clinically normal or underweight, reported Samia Mora, M.D., and colleagues.

The results of blood sample analyses further suggest that the diet reduced diabetes risk in participants by improving insulin resistance, lipoprotein metabolism and inflammation.

The results show that the protective effects of diet can occur over many years, the researchers said.

[I]ts important to note that many of these changes dont happen right away. While metabolism can change over a short period of time, our study indicates that there are longer-term changes happening that may provide protection over decades, the authors said.

The Mediterreanean diet is high in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. Although much evidence already demonstrates that the diet reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other adverse health outcomes, the current study was unique in length; many previous studies that have looked only at the diets short-term effects, the authors noted.

Full findings were published in JAMA Network Open.

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MedDiet cuts diabetes risk by a third in 25-year Women's Health Study - Clinical Daily News - McKnight's Long Term Care News

Nov 23

What Foods Should You Eat and Avoid on a Diverticulitis Diet? – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

So youve been diagnosed with diverticulitis, a form of diverticular disease. Eating and avoiding certain foods can help you manage and prevent symptoms but theres a lot of misinformation out there.

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The best diet for diverticular disease depends on whether youre having a flare-up, says registered dietitian Anna Taylor, MS, RDN, LD.

Here, she clears up the confusion about how to manage diverticular disease with diet.

Diverticular disease means you have polyps (small growths) called diverticula in your gut. These polyps can exist without causing any symptoms and without you even knowing theyre there. This is called diverticulosis.

If the polyps become inflamed or infected, they can cause symptoms such as abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness in the area, swelling, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. This is called diverticulitis.

Constipation often contributes to the development of diverticula. People develop polyps due to years of excessive muscular contractions as the body attempts to move small, hard stools, explains Taylor. A high-fiber diet helps fight constipation by softening stool, which then moves through the GI tract more comfortably and easily. Theres also less pressure against the polyps, which prevents diverticulitis flare-ups.

To eat a diet rich in fiber (doctors recommend 25 to 35 grams per day), choose minimally processed plant foods such as:

Years ago, doctors thought that eating corn, popcorn, nuts and seeds could inflame the polyps and cause diverticulitis, but theres no research to support that. Its safe to eat these types of foods, including tomatoes and strawberries with seeds, Taylor notes. All that normal roughage and fiber is fine.

To get the most out of a high-fiber diet, Taylor also recommends:

Diverticular disease may be common in Western societies because our diets are so low in fiber, Taylor says. Americans, on average, eat around 14 grams each day about half of whats recommended.

On the flip side, when you have diverticulitis, the polyps are upset, inflamed and maybe even infected. We want to reduce traffic in your GI tract so that nothing else irritates them, says Taylor. Decreasing the fiber in your diet helps with that.

During a diverticulitis flare-up, your doctor may recommend rest, antibiotics and either a clear liquid or low-fiber diet.

If a diverticulitis flare-up is severe or requires surgery, your doctor may recommend a clear liquid diet. After a day or two, you progress from clear liquids to a low-fiber diet, says Taylor. Even if your pain does not subside, you still move toward regular food. You cant be on a liquid diet long-term because you can become malnourished.

On a clear liquid diet, you can eat:

For milder cases of diverticulitis, eat a low-fiber, or GI soft, diet. A low-fiber diet limits fiber intake to between 8 and 12 grams of fiber, depending on the severity of the flare-up.

Good low-fiber food options include:

Foods to avoid with diverticulitis include high-fiber options such as:

Follow the low-fiber diet until diverticulitis symptoms subside. Usually they start to improve after several days of being on antibiotics, Taylor says.

If they do, your doctor will have you gradually increase your fiber intake over several days to weeks to avoid constipation and bloating. The goal is getting back to a high-fiber diet to decrease your risk for future bouts of diverticulitis, Taylor adds. But if youre not feeling better within a few days, talk to your doctor.

Talk to your doctor about a long-term plan, too. And if youve recently been diagnosed with diverticular disease, meet with a dietitian to learn practical and sustainable ways to get more fiber into your diet. Dietitians can also give you more specific recommendations to feel better during a diverticulitis flare-up, Taylor says.

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What Foods Should You Eat and Avoid on a Diverticulitis Diet? - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Nov 23

High-protein total replacement diet helps burn fat: Here’s how you can switch to it for effective weight loss – Times Now

High-protein total replacement diet helps burn fat: Here's how you can switch to it for effective weight loss  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images

New Delhi: Obesity has now become a global epidemic, with millions of people all around the world who have an unhealthy body mass index. A recent report also found that with current diet trends, more than 4 billion people are likely to be overweight by 2050. obesity or being overweight is more than just vanity. Being obese is a risk factor for many diseases, physical and mental. Obesity has proven to be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, kidney troubles, depression, anxiety, and even COVID-19. Therefore, watching what you eat becomes just more vital.

While a healthy diet and regular exercise, accompanied by quitting unhealthy habits such as smoking or drinking can help manage weight to a great extent, if you have to shed many kilos to get to the right BMI, you may need to undertake certain specific diets. One such diet is called the total meal replacement.

Many would agree that one way to lose weight is to stop eating how you normally do and incorporate changes in your diet and routine in order to get desired results. Total diet replacements do just that. They take a person's normal diet menu and substitute it with options that follow a careful formula. This helps in ensuring that people lose weight, but at the same time, receive the right nutrition.

Apart from total diet replacements, researchers also noted that high-protein diets show a lot of promise in reducing weight, and improving muscle strength. Therefore, researchers from the University of Alberta set out to combine the two approaches and see if they are effective in weight loss.

Considering the prevalence of obesity worldwide and its impact on health, its not surprising nutritional strategies such as total diet replacements and high-protein diets are becoming increasingly popular as weight management strategies; however, research around these topics has not kept pace with their growth in popularity, explains lead author and doctoral student Camila Oliveira in a media release.

For the study, researchers examined a group of 43 healthy-weight individuals, separated into 2 groups. One group switched to a high-protein total replacement diet. The high-protein replacement provided the participants with a balance of 35 per cent carbohydrates, 40 per cent protein, and 25 per cent fat. The control group ate a diet typically seen in North America, containing 55 per cent carbohydrates, 30 per cent fat, and just 15 per cent protein. Despite the differences, each volunteer consumed the same number of calories throughout the study. After spending 32 hours in a metabolic chamber, the results reveal high-protein replacement diets create higher energy expenditure, increased fat oxidation, and negative fat balance. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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High-protein total replacement diet helps burn fat: Here's how you can switch to it for effective weight loss - Times Now

Nov 23

Dietary Requirements: What is seltzer and why is it suddenly everywhere? – The Spinoff

The Dietary Requirements team drag Lucy and Matt out of the office and into the studio to discuss some of The Spinoffs most controversial food topics from the past week.

Exciting news Dietary Requirements is moving from monthly to fortnightly episodes! Well still have a special guest from the food world once a month, while the other episode will usually involve roping in some friends from the office for a food yarn. This is one of the latter. With regular co-host Sophie Gilmour away, Simon Day and Alice Neville have grabbed office manager MVP Lucy Reymer and partnerships manager Matt McAuley to discuss some of the topics dividing the office this week.

Why are New Zealand fridges suddenly heaving with seltzers? What even is seltzer? Is the new Whittakers x Supreme flat white chocolate good or bad or both? What about fennel? Is a layer of butter necessary on peanut butter toast? And how did Simon manage to revive a Nandos burger that had been in the office fridge all weekend for his lunch on Monday? All this and more on this fortnights Dietary Requirements.

ALSO: Were very pleased to announce that the winner of Monique Fisos glorious Hiakai cookbook is Hannah Neville for her delicious dish of marinated and seared kingfish with crispy zucchini chips and homegrown mesclun with avo and feta, sent from the paradise of Aotea/Great Barrier Island. (Shes no relation to food editor Alice Neville, we swear!)

If you missed our krero with Monique earlier in the month, check it out here.

Subscribe viaApple Podcasts,Spotifyor your favourite podcast provider. Please share Dietary Requirements with your friends and get in touch if you have any questions or requests:

The Bulletin is The Spinoffs acclaimed daily digest of New Zealands most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.

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Dietary Requirements: What is seltzer and why is it suddenly everywhere? - The Spinoff

Nov 23

Exclusive: Mama June Reveals Diet and Fitness Changes to Shed 70 Pounds – inTouch Weekly

On a mission! From Not to Hot reality star June Shannon, better known as Mama June, reveals the diet and fitness changes she is implementing into her daily lifestyle to lose 70 pounds in an exclusive interview with In Touch.

Im doing gluten-free and dairy-free as much as possible, the mother of four, 41, shares about her switch-ups. For me, everybody says cut out bread and pasta. Im not a really big bread or pasta person anyway, so thats not a big issue for me.

Outside of that, thats pretty much all that I do. I mean, I barely eat anyways. I was surprised when I actually gained that much weight, June adds.

The Sunshine State resident reveals she faced a setback in her weight loss journey amid the coronavirus quarantine. June admits it was difficult to stay on her grind while focusing on her health and well-being after a stint in rehab with boyfriend Geno Doak for struggles with addiction. In recent weeks, she started exercising outdoors again when possible.

Honestly, because were in South Florida, theyre starting to shut stuff down and theyve been restrictive, she tells In Touch. It just pretty much is being able to walk on the beach or kind of just do my own thing because it is hard, the TV personality explains. Theyre [stricter] down here, especially with the [coronavirus] numbers starting to go up again.

June even opens up about her meal plan and what she likes to eat on a regular basis. I love breakfast, but Im not a big breakfast eater. I dont normally get up [until around] 12 oclock, the Georgia native says. Ill just boil like a bunch of eggs and only eat a boiled egg and then those P3 protein packs, [Geno and I] love. So, Im more of a snacker instead of a full-meal kind of person.

After completing rehab, June and Geno, 45, celebrated moving into a new condo in Fort Pierce, Florida. They also both touched up their appearances together. The Toddlers and Tiaras alum opted to get chin and neck liposuction as well as a new set of veneers. Geno got new veneers of his own and underwent gastric sleeve surgery in addition to getting a lipoma removed from his neck and head.

It looks like 2021 will be an even more transformative year for June and Geno.

Exclusive: Mama June Reveals Diet and Fitness Changes to Shed 70 Pounds - inTouch Weekly

Nov 19

Heart Healthy Diet – Cleveland Clinic

Habits that fuel a healthy heart. Eat Heart Healthy

Following these nutritional strategies can help you reduce or even eliminate some risk factors, such as reducing total and LDL-cholesterol; lowering blood pressure, blood sugars and triglycerides; and reducing body weight. While most dietary plans tell you what you cant eat (usually your favorite foods!), the most powerful nutrition strategies help you focus on what you can and should eat. In fact, research has shown that adding certain foods to your diet is just as important as cutting back on others.

The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology Lifestyle Management Guidelines (2013) urge people to eat a healthy diet and decrease saturated fats and trans fats in their diet. Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (from olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, flaxseed, soy and fatty fish).

Choose seven to nine -A-Day

Aim for a combined seven - nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day provides a variety of antioxidants, b-vitamins, dietary fiber and a host of additional plant chemicals known to help prevent disease.

One serving of fruit includes:

1 medium-sized piece of fresh fruit1/2 medium banana1/2 grapefruit 2 Tbsp dried fruit1/2 cup canned fruit1/2 to 3/4 cup most juices

One serving of vegetables includes:

1/2 cup cooked vegetables1 cup raw or leafy vegetables

Eat a rainbow of colors

Eat a variety of orange carrots and oranges, red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, and peaches, purple plums, green celery, lettuce, and kiwis and yellow peppers and bananas. Choosing a rainbow of colors helps ensure a diverse intake of nutrients.

Increase fruits and vegetables in your diet

*If you have high blood pressure, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains is recommended [see DASH diet]

As part of a healthy diet, fiber can reduce cholesterol. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. Its found primarily in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. As fiber passes through the body, it affects the way the body digests foods and absorbs nutrients.

A diet rich in fiber has health benefits beyond cholesterol control: it helps control blood sugar, promote regularity, prevent gastrointestinal disease and helps in weight management.

There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Each has a unique effect on health.

Overall, you should aim for a total intake of 25 or more grams of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble) each day.

Increase plant sources of protein and start reducing your intake of animal protein. Eating more beef, pork, and chicken with skin, and whole milk cheeses and dairy products means more intake of high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat, both of which contribute to weight gain and increased risk of heart disease. So start replacing some animal fat meals with meatless meals. There are plenty of palatable nonmeat substitutes that provide good sources of protein but that also provide heart-friendly ingredients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Increase whole grains and limit processed or refined carbohydrate foods (e.g., white bread, white pasta, white rice). Whole grain breads, brown rice, oats, barley, bulgur [a form of whole wheat], quinoa [a grain-like product], whole wheat pasta, whole grain crackers and cereals are called unrefined or whole-grain carbohydrates.

These foods provide more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber than refined carbohydrates.

Foods such as sweets and sugar sweetened beverages should be limited. You dont have to eliminate them from the menu altogether to derive benefitjust dont make them part of your everyday diet. A couple times a month is better than a couple times a week.

The American Heart Association suggests two three servings per day of dairy. This is good for heart, bone and blood pressure health. Such sources are skim milk or 1% milk, 1% or nonfat yogurt or cottage cheese, and reduced fat cheeses.

Drinking alcohol is not encouraged, but if you do drink in moderation. Moderate alcohol use is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. Alcohol should be avoided with some medical conditions or medications. Talk to your doctor about drinking alcohol.

More Information

When you are trying to follow an eating plan that's good for you, it may help to know how much of a certain kind of food is considered a "serving." The list below offers some examples.

Skipping meals is not recommended. Small, frequent meals and snacks appear to promote weight loss and maintenance and give you an opportunity to consume important nutrients throughout the day. Skipping meals only lowers metabolism and deprives you of key nutrients. Researchers have found that people who balance their calories into four to six small meals each day have lower cholesterol levels., so divide your calories into 4 to 6 smaller meals throughout the day.

A body mass index, or BMI, of 18 to 24.9 is considered ideal. Speak with your physician or registered dietitian to learn how you can maintain or achieve a healthier body mass index. Even a loss of 5 to 10% of your body weight can have a significant impact on your overall heart health. For instance, a 200 lb. female would have to lose only 10 to 20 pounds; a 280 lb. male would have to lose only 14 to 28 pounds.

A healthy diet ALONG WITH exercise improves blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health. Engaging in aerobic exerciseeven brisk walkingfor at least 30 minutes most days of the week, in addition to maintaining an active lifestyle, can have considerable heart-health benefits. Regardless of the exercise regimen you choose, check with your physician before starting one.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/26/2018.

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