We have more proof that diet plays a huge role in staving off some of today’s biggest killers. Nearly half of all U.S. deaths from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes in 2012 could be attributed to substandard eating habits, according to research published in JAMA in 2017. The study was based on death certificate data and funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Of the 702,308 adult deaths from cardio-maladies, 318,656 (about 45%) were associated with consuming excess sodium, eating processed meat, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, and not getting enough nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and seafood rich in omega-3 fats. Study authors proposed using these results to better direct public health strategies for diet and disease prevention.