10 foods that may impact your risks from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes

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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

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