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14 Keys to a Healthy Diet

1. Consume a Variety of Foods
Not all the nutrients and other substances in foods that contribute to good health have been identified, so eating a wide assortment of foods helps ensure that you get all of the disease-fighting potential that foods offer. In addition, this will limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic substances that may be present in a particular food.

2. Keep an Eye on Portions
Sure, you can eat all the broccoli and spinach you want, but for higher-calorie foods, portion control is the key. In recent years, serving sizes have ballooned. In restaurants, choose an appetizer instead of an entree or split a dish with a friend. Don’t order anything that’s been “supersized.” When reading food labels, check serving sizes: some relatively small packages claim to contain more than one serving, so you have to double or triple the calories, grams of fat and milligrams of sodium if you’re planning to eat the whole thing.

3. Eat Plenty of Produce
vegetablesAim for 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit a day, for a 2,000-calorie diet. If you consume more calories, aim for more; if you eat fewer than 2,000 calories, you can eat less. Include green, orange, red, blue/purple and yellow produce. The nutrients, fiber and other compounds in these foods may help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases. Legumes, rich in fiber, count as vegetables, though are moderately high in calories. Choose whole fruits over juice for more fiber. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are good options.

4. Get More Whole Grains
At least half your grains should be whole grains, such as whole wheat, barley and oats. Whole grains retain the bran and germ and thus all (or nearly all) of the nutrients and fiber of the grain. Look for a product labeled “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain.” If it doesn’t say that, look for a whole grain listed as the first ingredient, though there still may be lots of refined wheat (also called “white” or “enriched” flour) and/or sugar. Another option is to look for the voluntary “Whole Grain Stamp” from the Whole Grains Council. 10 more great tips...

[source: UC Berkeley Wellness]

How to Prevent Heart Diseases

Looking after your heart’s health is very important because you need it to sustain a long and healthy life. According to Dean Ornish, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco, “Ninety-nine percent of heart disease is preventable by changing your diet and lifestyle.” Scientists have also discovered that instead of banning fats and salts to stay healthy, people just need to cut back on consuming foods that are rich in saturated fats and trans-fats, which are known to increase bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. Bad cholesterol lines the arteries with plaque and can cause a stroke or heart attack. >more


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