Twelve Tips for Healthier Eating in 2012, from Harvard Women’s Health Watch

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Healthy eating is not about individual nutrients anymore.

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If healthier eating is on your list of resolutions for 2012, look no further. The January issue of the Harvard Women’s Health Watch offers 12 ways to break old dietary habits and build new ones.

According to the article “12 for 2012: Twelve tips for healthier eating,” nutrition research has shifted focus in recent years from the risks and benefits of single nutrients to the health effects that come from the many interactions within and among nutrients in the foods we eat. The result is a better understanding of what makes up a healthy eating plan. Here are five of the 12 ways to improve the way you eat:

1.    Pile on the vegetables and fruits — Their high fiber, mineral, and vitamin content make fruits and vegetables a critical component of any healthy diet. They’re also the source of beneficial plant chemicals not found in other foods or supplements.

2.    Go for the good fats — It’s the type of fat that counts. Replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fat, including vegetable oils and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, seeds, nuts, and canola oil), as well as monounsaturated fat (avocados, olive oil, and canola oil), can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.

3.    Rethink supplements — It’s best to get the vitamins and minerals you need from food rather than supplements. That can be difficult, especially when you are watching your calories. But it’s not impossible. The key is choosing nutrient-rich foods, like leafy green vegetables, low-fat yogurt, dried beans, whole grains, and salmon.

4.    Dine mindfully — Taking time to savor your food not only helps you enjoy it more, it also helps control your appetite. If you eat too quickly, the brain may not receive signals that the stomach is full. Put down your fork between bites and chew more slowly.

5.    Eat breakfast — The daily morning rush sometimes means you skip breakfast. Don’t. A healthy morning meal makes for smaller rises in blood sugar and insulin throughout the day, which can lower the risk of overeating and impulse snacking.

Read the full-length article “12 for 2012: Twelve tips for healthier eating”

Also in this issue:

  •     Sex and the older woman
  •     Yoga and stretching are equally effective for easing low back pain
  •     What to do for Dupuytren’s contracture
  •     What happens to the plastic beads injected during uterine artery embolization
  •     The causes of and treatment for uveitis

Harvard Women’s Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $28 per year. Subscribe at or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).


Media: Contact Raquel Schott at Raquel_Schott(at)hms(dot)harvard(dot)edu for a complimentary copy of the newsletter, or to receive our press releases directly.


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