Studies suggest that eating suboptimal levels of 10 foods or nutrients — too much of some and not enough of others — was associated with more than 45% of deaths due to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Not eating enough of the following foods and nutrients was estimated to contribute to the corresponding percentage of CMD deaths:
- nuts and seeds (8.5%)
- seafood-based omega-3 fats (7.8%)
- vegetables (7.6%)
- fruits (7.5%)
- whole grains (5.9%)
- polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fat or carbohydrates (2.3%).
Eating too much of the following foods and nutrients was estimated to contribute to the corresponding percentage of CMD deaths:
- sodium (9.5%)
- processed meat (8.2%)
- sugar sweetened beverages (7.4%)
- unprocessed red meat (0.4%).
Eat more of these foods and nutrients
Nuts and seeds: Goal = 1 ounce (1/4 cup) per day. Add to oatmeal, whole grain cereal, or salads. Try 1/4 cup as an afternoon snack.
Whole grains: Goal = 4 servings per day (1 serving = 1 slice whole grain bread or 1/2 cup cooked whole grains). Try a variety of whole grains such as barley, millet, quinoa, brown rice. Make ahead, keep refrigerated, and heat for a warm side or add cold to a salad.
Vegetables: Goal = 5 servings per day (1 serving = 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked veggies). Steam, grill or stir-fry vegetables to preserve all their nutrients, or eat them raw. Fill at least half your plate with vegetables.
Fruits: Goal = 4 servings per day (1 serving = 1 medium fresh fruit). Try to have fruit at each meal or between meals. Frozen fruit is also a good option.
Seafood: Goal = 12 ounces per week. Make a sardine or tuna sandwich during the week. Grill or broil seafood kabobs for dinner. Order fish when you eat out.
Polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fat or carbohydrates: Goal = replace at least 11% of calories from saturated fat or carbohydrates with calories from polyunsaturated fats (the equivalent of about two tablespoons of a healthy oil for someone consuming 1,800 calories per day). Try heathy oils such as canola or olive oil in place of butter.
Eat less of these foods and nutrients
Sodium: Goal = less than 2,000 milligrams per day. Limit intake of processed, packaged, and fast foods, as well as condiments such as soy sauce, bottled salad dressings, and barbecue sauce.
Processed meats: Goal = 0 servings per day.
Sugar sweetened beverages: Goal = 0 servings per day. Instead of sports drinks, sugar-sweetened coffees and teas, or soda, infuse a large pitcher of water with slices of oranges, lemon, lime, or berries. Plain tea, coffee are also great substitutes.
Red meat: Minimize red meats