’Tis the season of indulgence, and diets can get unsaddled as clients face a dizzying array of fatty meats, calorie-bomb dips and tempting sweets. But healthy eating need not wait until New Year’s Day—it’s easy to rustle up meals that taste just as cheery but deliver a bigger nutritional windfall. This nutritious riff on iconic shepherd’s pie is sure to become a new favorite on the holiday table.
From the first Halloween treat to the last glass of New Year’s bubbly, we are bombarded with occasions that tempt us with decadent goodies. This constant parade of rich foods can make the last few months of the year a challenge for even the most disciplined of eaters.
They might be blue, but there appears to be nothing sad about the heart-healthy benefits of blueberries. When British researchers provided 138 overweight and obese people, ages 50–75, with 150 grams (about 1 cup) of blueberries daily or a placebo for 6 months, they found participants eating the berries experienced various improvements in cardiovascular health, including a reduction in arterial stiffness and improved endothelial functioning.
Chances are, you’ve heard a lot about probiotics, friendly bacteria that inhabit our digestive tracts and appear to confer a range of health benefits. But science is increasingly turning its attention to prebiotics, forms of fiber that are indigestible by humans but function to promote the growth and maintenance of our gut microbiota.
Over the past few decades, the much-vaunted Mediterranean diet’s ability to lessen the risk for an array of ills, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s, has featured prominently in research. But there weren’t any randomized trials conducted in the United States to determine this diet’s long-term impact on Americans’ health measures—until now.
Buttery salmon, sweet-tart berry dressing, crunchy nuts, chewy spelt and sun-kissed vegetables mingle to create an Instagram-ready summer salad that can be enjoyed for lunch or as a light dinner on a sultry night. And each bite packs plenty of health benefits.
The gravel-voiced sailor man was smart to make spinach his vegetable of choice. This green giant has a wealth of nutritional highlights, including vitamin K, vitamin C and lutein, a potent antioxidant. Higher intakes of lutein have been linked to healthier cholesterol levels (for better heart functioning) and improved eye health, according to The Journal of Nutrition and JAMA.
Want to keep your heartbeat strong? Then don’t skimp on antioxidants. A study last year found that people whose diets had the highest antioxidant capacity—a measure of how well foods can thwart cell-damaging free radicals—had about a 22% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 17% lower risk of cardiovascular disease over 13 years than those whose diet packed the weakest antioxidant punch. That study, reported in the European Journal of Nutrition, used dietary data from 23,595 U.S. adults.
If you want to know which foods deserve prime real estate in your shopping cart, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition offers some guidance. German investigators reviewing how certain food groups influence disease markers found that nuts, legumes and whole grains had the greatest impact on metabolic measures like LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides and insulin resistance, while sugary drinks performed worst.
To keep blood pressure numbers from boiling over, it might be a good idea to tame the flame when preparing meat, chicken and fish, according to research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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