The Healing Power of a Heart-Healthy Diet

Sharing is Nice

The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
I'll share what not to do and how to clean your ears safely. The Paleo Diet Free is not intended to be a weight loss diet, per se, but rather a way of eating that is meant to be permanent. The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Contamination with mold can also cause an allergic reaction all probiotic products reviewed by ConsumerLab. Preliminary studies have found black cohosh may lower blood pressure in animals, but it is unclear whether it has this effect in people. Fish oil has been found to be helpful for both depression and anxiety. Horny Goat Weed Epimedium.

How to End the Autism Epidemic

Best Weight Loss Programs

Many fatty foods—avocados, fatty fish like salmon, nuts , seeds, and olive and other vegetable oils—are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Dietary Guidelines no longer limit how much of those fats you eat as long as you keep your total calories in check. But you should still try to avoid foods packed with saturated fat such as meat, cheese, and butter and trans fat in foods with partially hydrogenated oils.

Those foods cause your body to produce more cholesterol , the substance that gets deposited in your artery walls. The best bet, Willett says, is to swap saturated-fat-laden foods for those rich in unsaturated fats. A Harvard study found that substituting 5 percent of saturated fat in your diet with the unsaturated variety lowered heart disease risk by up to 25 percent, depending on the foods chosen. On the other hand, risk remains high if you cut back on saturated fat but eat more sugary foods or refined grains such as white bread, white rice , and some cereals.

Many people think they should completely avoid eggs because they are high in cholesterol, adding to the amount that your body produces on its own. But new research shows that the cholesterol in food has a smaller impact on your overall cholesterol levels than once thought. For foods that are high in cholesterol but low in saturated fat—such as eggs, lobster, and shrimp —a serving each day is fine.

This article also appeared in the May issue of Consumer Reports magazine. Hallie Levine is an award-winning magazine and freelance writer who contributes to Consumer Reports on health and fitness topics. She's a mom to three kids and a fat but feisty black Labrador Retriever named Ivry. In her nonexistent spare time, she likes to read, swim, and run marathons. Please call Member Services at Welcome to Consumer Reports. You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed.

A Harvard study that tracked more than , people for 30 years found that those who ate the most red meat tended to die younger during the study period but that swapping just one daily serving of beef for nuts could cut the risk of dying early by as much as 19 percent.

One possible reason for those benefits is that a plant-based diet can improve blood lipid levels. Shifting to a vegan diet led to even more dramatic change.

A Mediterranean-style diet, based on produce, legumes, grains, and healthy oils , with small amounts of fish and meat, is connected with better brain health in older adults, according to a study in the journal Neurology.

Those who favored fruits and vegetables along with some fish had less brain shrinkage—linked with a reduced risk of cognitive decline—than those who ate more meat. Eating no more than 3. But can changing your diet after age 50 still make a difference? Absolutely, according to experts. Any step you take will help, but the more plants and fewer animal foods, the better. Try these easy tips to help you design a plant-based diet: If only you knew what to eat.

Lunch Quinoa tabbouleh with chickpeas: Cooked quinoa, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, chopped parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, black olives, garbanzo beans. Corn tortillas, black beans, roasted cauliflower, jarred corn salsa, pico de gallo, cumin, salad greens. Rachel Meltzer Warren, M. Please call Member Services at Welcome to Consumer Reports. Also, if you're more a meat-and-potatoes kind of eater, you may get weary of a diet that's heavy on vegetables, fruits and soups.

The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, most commonly called the TLC Diet Free , has a name that's about as interesting as cold broth, but experts say it's a top choice to lower cholesterol and that you will lose weight if you follow the eating and activity guidelines. The downside to this diet is that you have to figure out which foods to eat and there is no support.

Guidelines are available online on the U. National Institutes of Health website , but they're not as specific as with fee-based weight loss programs. However, while there are no "official" community websites that accompany the TLC diet, there is plenty of information available online from dieters who have successfully followed the programs and offer their suggestions, recipes and tips.

Another diet that's highly ranked by experts is the Mediterranean Diet Free. Experts say that eating the Mediterranean way is the healthiest dietary choice you can make. The difficulty for most people is figuring out exactly what that means since there is no formal "Mediterranean Diet;" rather, it's a way of eating that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meats in moderation, whole grains, legumes, seeds and healthy fats.

However, there are some guidelines on the Oldways website that may be helpful, and there are a wealth of other online resources from those who have adopted the Mediterranean diet lifestyle, as well as plenty of cookbooks. Low carb diets, which eliminate basically all non-vegetable carbs, even most fruits, used to be considered "fad" or "fringe" diets. However, they're becoming more mainstream as more studies show that this approach is effective for both short and long term weight loss, as well as lowering overall cholesterol and increasing "good" cholesterol.

However, many experts are leery of any diet that eliminates entire food groups -- in this case grains and many starches. However, plenty of others point out that vegetarians and vegans do not receive this type of criticism even though those diets also eliminate several food groups.

Regardless of which camp you're in, if you do decide to try out a low carb diet, the Atkins Diet is the gold standard. Atkins has been proven effective for both short- and long-term weight loss, and studies show it is just as effective in lowering cholesterol levels over the long term as low fat diets for many people.

As with any diet program, it may not be effective for everyone. While Atkins does initially restrict carbs to very low levels, the plan adds in more carbohydrates as you lose weight.

It's also easy to follow, say users, and it's restaurant friendly -- hold the bread and order an extra vegetable instead of a potato. There are a plethora of resources for getting started on, or maintaining, the Atkins Diet.

In addition to the official Atkins website , with recipes, many free downloads, and a support community, there are thousands of websites built by low carb devotees with additional tips, recipes and encouragement. It's highly rated by users, who say it's a great guide for making a dietary lifestyle change. Some like that the science of low carb eating is well presented, others say they would prefer a more casual approach and more recipes. Others point out that all of the information in the book is available on the Atkins website, free of charge.

The South Beach Diet is also considered low-carb, but it's not as restrictive as Atkins in its later phases. In fact, even in the early phases of the South Beach Diet, small servings of complex, non-vegetable carbs are allowed. South Beach earns high praise for weight loss and as an overall healthy way of eating, but gets panned for its complicated meal plans and time-consuming recipes by both users and experts.

The ingredients in its recipes can jack up your grocery bill as well. Still, it's popular for those who love to cook, or prefer meals that aren't just a hunk of meat and a vegetable or two. The book is still considered to be the best way to get information on the basic diet, but there are also many follow up books and cookbooks to supplement the original, as well as South Beach compliant recipes available around the Internet.

The official South Beach Diet website is mostly fee-based. Even its adherents quibble over whether the Paleo Diet is low carb or not. Technically, it is not in that it allows some starch-based carbs such as sweet potatoes, yams, and squash.

It also allows some fruits. Some Paleo programs allow white potatoes and certain kinds of rice as well. Most Paleo programs don't allow dairy, others do. The Paleo Diet Free is not intended to be a weight loss diet, per se, but rather a way of eating that is meant to be permanent. In many Paleo protocols, there is a strong emphasis on grass-fed or organic foods, which can be pricey and may not be readily available to some, but other programs recommend that you just purchase the highest quality of food you can afford.

Exercise is strongly encouraged. You don't count calories; you just eat until you're satiated. Proponents of the Paleo diet say it's a much healthier way to eat than the standard American diet, which is often heavy on added sugars and processed foods. Critics say it's too restrictive, banning dairy, wheat and legumes -- food groups that many nutritionists feel should be part of a healthy diet. However, as we noted earlier in this section, veganism and vegetarianism also ban entire food groups and do not come under the same cloud of criticism.

Regardless of where you stand, the fact is that the Paleo way of eating is becoming increasingly popular, as are "nutritional reset" programs based upon Paleo, such as the Primal Blueprint day Challenge hosted by Marks Daily Apple , or the Whole30 program, popularized by the New York Times bestseller, It Starts with Food: Anecdotally, many people say they feel great on the Paleo diet -- losing weight and lowering health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

However, like most programs, many simply don't stick with this way of eating over the long term -- they keep lapsing and going back -- the same issue we see with all eating plans. Again, there is no formal "Paleo" diet, but there are plenty of books and online resources for anyone interested in exploring the idea. Regardless of which of these diets appeals to you, the biggest challenge for any of them is that you have to have at least some ability in the kitchen -- and for some you have to be pretty competent -- because all of them are based, at least in part, upon purchasing and preparing your own, whole foods.

That may be a challenge if food prep is not your thing or you're often pressed for time. In that case, Weight Watchers is probably the easiest program for the non-cook to follow.

They not only have a complete line of prepared foods, they also have tools to give you the points values for the menus of many popular restaurants. If you really want to make dieting as simple as possible, skip on over to our discussion of the Best Prepackaged Diet Plans for some really convenient weight loss plans.

The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: The South Beach Diet: ConsumerSearch editors personally research every product category to recommend the best choices. Expert review sources are heavily weighted, but user reviews, especially those where durability or usability are a factor, are crucial to helping us finalize our top picks.

Like most other product review sites, ConsumerSearch is supported by a combination of commissions on the sale of the products we recommend and ads that are placed on our site by Google. If you find something you like, you can help support us by clicking through and buying the products we pick. Best Weight Loss Programs By: Kelly Burgess on December 15, Weight Watchers is still the best choice for both short-term weight loss and long-term healthy eating, while Jenny Craig rules in the prepackaged convenience category.

Navigation menu