Five to Choose
- Fruits and vegetables (5-9 servings per day): Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Not just delicious, fruits and vegetables reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and other ailments.
- Whole grains: Whole-wheat breads and pastas, whole-grain low-sugar cereals, brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, kasha (buckwheat), barley, oats and oat bran. Great source of B vitamins, vitamin E and fiber.
- Low-fat and non-fat dairy products: Excellent source of bone-building calcium.
- Nuts and seeds: Rich in protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
- High-quality, low-fat protein: Skinless chicken and turkey, fish (also rich in omega-3 fatty acids), legumes and eggs.
Five to Lose
- Saturated fat: Red meat, butter, whole-fat cheese, milk and other dairy products, and coconut and palm oils. Raises cholesterol levels, clogs arteries and increases your risk of heart disease and cancer.
- Trans fats: Margarine (especially stick), cakes, pies, frostings and fried foods (i.e., French fries, fried chicken). Increases your risk of heart disease as much as saturated fat. Since "trans fats" are not listed on labels, look for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
- High-sodium foods (limit your intake to 2,400 mg sodium per day): Processed convenience items such as hot dogs, cheese, tomato sauce, canned and dried soup, deli meat, frozen pizza, potato and pasta mixes and frozen dinners. Increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and osteoporosis (by increasing calcium excretion).
Reduce intake of:
- Fat-free cakes, brownies and cookies: Most items are extremely high in sugar (and thus calories) and devoid of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Fat-free potato and corn chips (made with fake fats): Made with an indigestible fat that also sweeps fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) out of the body.