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Good Nutrition can Reduce Health Risks

Good nutrition ensures that your body gets all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs. Plan your meals and snacks to include nutrient-rich foods that are also low in calories, such as:

  • A variety of fruits (eat fruit whole — instead of juiced — to benefit from the fiber)
  • Vegetables (especially leafy greens)
  • Whole grains (whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice)
  • Low-fat dairy products (yogurt, skim milk)
  • Skinless poultry and fish (fish has omega-3 fatty acids that are good for brain health)
  • Nuts and legumes (soybeans are fat-free and rich in protein)

Benefits of good nutrition

Eating smart and regular exercise can help you maintain your weight. But good nutrition can also help:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some cancers, and osteoporosis
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Lower high cholesterol
  • Keep your brain healthy
  • Improve your ability to recover from illness or injury
  • Increase your energy level

Foods to limit… or avoid

The typical American diet is too high in calories, saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars, and does not include enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium and fiber. Such a diet increases the risk of life-threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, stroke and certain cancers.

It’s best to avoid processed foods and sugary drinks. They are generally high in saturated and trans fat, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, sodium and/or added sugar.

Try replacing the red meat and poultry in your diet with fish or tofu. If you choose to eat red meat, select the leanest cuts available. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation — no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman or two drinks per day if you’re a man.