Maintaining a healthy diet includes eating the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and good fats — doing so can have a big affect on the way we feel mentally and physically. Our cells need a variety of nutrients, including vitamin A, the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E; healthy unsaturated fats like omega-3s in fish oil and omega-6s in nuts and seeds; and fruits and vegetables that contain powerful antioxidants like flavonoids. All these, including whole grains are found in the Mediterranean diet, fast becoming the gold standard in nutrition. Low-carb and low-fat is good; but no-fat, no-carb is not. Our rising rates of obesity and high BMIs are mostly due to eating too much of the wrong kind of food and exercising too little.

Nutrition needs change as we age. Babies need fat to build their growing brains and nervous systems; seniors need the B vitamins that protect the brain from shrinking. Feeding the body well is especially important when it is healing from acute and chronic illness or disease. Vegetarians, people with dietary restrictions, or whose diets are limited by geography or income are at risk for deficiencies and need to understand what the body needs. Remember, what we eat now can prevent and protect against health problems in the future, from cancer to blood pressure, strokes and heart disease; from Alzheimer’s to obesity.

Nutrition Basics

The First Three Steps to a Nutrition Makeover : To improve your diet, you need a game plan. Keep a food journal — even for just a week. It can help you devise a strategy that speaks to your eating habits. You may want to consult with an RD, particularly if you have preexisting health issues. Here is a quick list of ten ways to get eating more healthfully. Start small; you may not even notice the change, but your body definitely will.

Are Cooking Shows Making Us Fat?: Cooking shows, with their celebrity chefs, exotic locales, incredible kitchens, and gorgeous food are a feast for the senses. They also may be responsible for some of the excess poundage we seem to be accumulating. A study suggests their effects aren't necessarily bad, but the risk of calorie overload is there.

Nutrition 101: Finding Reliable Sources of Information: What's the difference between a registered dietitian and a nutritionist? It's not a joke; it's important.

Nutrition News

Fructose on the Brain:  Fructose, the sugar in high fructose corn syrup, appears to leave the brain craving more food.

Survey Says: Dietitians Can Help:  What happens when physicians, nutritionists, dietitians, and other professionals work together to curb obesity? Progress.

How Many Miles to Walk Off a Burger?:  When people are faced with how long it will take them to walk off the calories they are eating, they eat less.

Even Occasional Family Meals are Good for the Kids:  Don't leave kids to fend for themselves at mealtime. Eating togther improves nutrition in a big way. Of course, what you serve matters, too.

Confused about Omega-3s?: To eat omega-3s or not, that is the question. Eating fish may be the answer.

Food for a Healthy Body

Healthy Diets and Kids’ IQs:
There is strong evidence that what an infant eats from six to 24 months can have a significant effect on IQ at eight years of age.

Red Meat (and How You Cook It) Affects Cancer Risk:
We're learning more about why eating red meat may increase our risk for cancer.

Walnuts for Male Fertility:
The fatty acids in walnuts appear to improve the mobility and vitality of sperm.

Low-Fat Dairy Could Reduce Stroke Risk:
Eating and drinking low-fat dairy products reduced the risk of stroke, one large study found.

Low-GI Foods: Breakfast of Champions:
Eating low glycemic index foods can help prevent blood sugar spikes and overeating throughout the day.

Healthy Dieting

A Backwards Approach to Weight Loss:
Before you start a diet, it can help to learn how to keep weight off first.

Sugary Drinks May Matter More for Some:
For people predisposed obesity, drinking lots of sugary beverages "amplifies" the effects of one's genes.

Brain Changes Make Weight Loss Hard:
Overeating changes your brain, making it more and more difficult to regulate consumption.

BPA Linked to Overweight in Kids:
Children and teens with high levels of BPA were over two and a half times more likely to be obese.

Eating to Prevent Disease

Tomatoes Lower the Risk of Stroke:
The compound lycopene, found in tomatoes, can help prevent strokes.

Antioxidants Explained:
What they are; where to find them; and what these marvelous molecules can do for your body.

Omega-3s Can Slow the Aging Process:
Telomeres, bits of DNA, grow shorter with age which leads to cell malfunctioning. But diets rich in omega-3 fats may slow the process.

Cranberries Really Do Help the Urinary Tract:
Cranberry products may be an effective way to preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs).

The Health Effects of Caffeine:
Coffee, or more generally, caffeine, offers many health benefits; except when it comes to fertility.