Healthy Eating

4 essential nutrients — are you getting enough?

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

The latest update to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that many people are not getting enough of four essential nutrients: calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D. But how much of these nutrients should you aim for and what are some good sources for them?

A look at the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are published by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture and are updated every five years, have been updated for the 2020–2025 period. While each iteration builds on the previous set of guidelines, there are some changes this time around, and some items that could have been changed but were not.

Could what we eat improve our sleep?

Diet, exercise, and sleep work together, and all three can have an effect on our daily well-being and longevity. Sleep impacts our eating patterns, and our eating patterns affect our sleep: lack of quality sleep may make people eat more, and make less healthy food choices, but certain foods contain substances that may enhance sleep.

Heavy metals in baby food? What parents should know and do

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Worrisome levels of arsenic, lead, and other elements called heavy metals that can harm the developing brain are found in some commercial baby foods, according to a recent report. Here’s what parents should know and can do to protect young children.

Lowering cholesterol protects your heart and brain, regardless of your age

Studies have consistently shown that lowering LDL cholesterol reduces the risk of cardiovascular events and death. But do older adults — even those with existing cardiovascular disease — get the same benefits from lowering cholesterol, and do they face any additional risks from taking cholesterol-lowering medication? An analysis of data from previous studies reached some favorable conclusions.

What’s your approach to health? Check your medicine cabinet

Attitudes toward health –– broadly, maximalist or minimalist –– tend to form early in life and are embedded in our family’s approach to health and well-being. The contents of your medicine cabinet reflect which approach you prefer.

New dietary guidelines: Any changes for infants, children, and teens?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The US Department of Agriculture has published its periodically updated dietary guidelines, and for the first time advice for babies and toddlers is included. It’s never too early to start instilling good eating habits in kids, and awareness of what children should and shouldn’t eat is one way parents can get their kids on the right track.

3 simple steps to jump-start your heart health this year

Several habits can improve your heart health (and, as a side effect, may make you less vulnerable to infections like the flu or COVID-19). Focusing on a few of these is an excellent way to take care of your heart — and boost your overall health in the process.

We’re supposed to make resolutions now?

Steve Calechman

Contributor

After everything that has happened in 2020, making New Year’s resolutions might be too much to expect of many. Setting goals for the coming year seems like too much to ask right now. Is it okay to just give yourself a break this year? Or is there another way of looking at the whole situation?

3 easy ways to eat a healthier diet

The very best intentions for healthy eating can fail if a new diet is too ambitious or restrictive. Taking small, easy steps toward healthier eating—and taking them one at a time—can help you make lasting changes.