Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Nutrition and Dietetics

  • Artificial sweeteners can be used instead of sugar to sweeten foods and drinks. You can add them to drinks like coffee or iced tea. They are also found in many foods sold in grocery stores. These sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, are made...

  • The major nutrients—protein, carbohydrate, and fat—provide the body with energy. This energy keeps your heart beating, your brain active, and your muscles working. The energy is measured in calories. Nutrient Function Some sources Protein has 4...

  • The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet can help you lower your blood pressure. It includes eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. For more information on the DASH diet, see: High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH...

  • Water keeps every part of your body working properly. It helps your body flush wastes and stay at the right temperature. It can help prevent kidney stones and constipation. You lose water throughout the day—through your breath, sweat, urine, and...

  • Fasting means choosing to go without food, drink, or both for a period of time. It can mean going without any food or going without certain types of food. There are different kinds of fasting. Medical fasting. You may be asked to fast for a...

  • Learn how to build a healthy meal using the plate method to help manage your diabetes.

  • Learn why sodium is bad for heart failure and get tips for low-sodium meals.

  • What are energy and sports drinks? If you listen to the advertising, you might think energy and sports drinks do it all. More energy. Improved performance. Better concentration. But do they? And what's the difference between energy drinks and sports drinks? Energy drinks People use energy drinks because...

  • Get help making a plan to change your drinking habits.

  • Find out how to eat a consistent amount of vitamin K so your warfarin (Coumadin) medicine will work the way it should.

  • It can be hard to know which treatments you may or may not want near the end of life. Learning more can help.

  • How does protein help with wound healing? Your body needs protein to help build and repair muscle, skin, and other body tissues. Protein also helps fight infection, balance body fluids, and carry oxygen through your body. When you have a wound that's healing, think of food as medicine. Eat a balanced diet with enough...

  • Learn what a feeding tube for children is and how it works.

  • Find out what to do and when to call for help if your child has mild heat exhaustion.

  • Find out what to do and when to call for help if your baby or child has mild dehydration.

  • Learn how reading a food label can help you make healthy food choices.

  • Learn strategies to help yourself stop emotional eating.

  • Learn about calories in alcohol, and decide how alcohol fits into your weight management plan.

  • Try these tips for making healthy choices even when you're stressed or busy.

  • Tips to staying on track with eating and activity goals when your routine changes.

  • Ideas for pulling healthy meals together when you don't have a lot of time.

  • Celebrate your successes with non-food rewards.

  • Get tips and support for getting back on track with healthy eating.

  • Learn about ways to track eating and activity to support weight-loss goals.

  • Learn how to plan snacks and meals to avoid impulsive eating and drinking.

  • Learn to plan in advance for how you'll avoid emotional eating in the moment.

  • Learn five tips to help you keep a healthy lifestyle change going.

  • Learn what carbohydrates are and how to count them to help manage your diabetes.

  • Learn tips for eating healthy when you're home all the time.

  • This topic helps readers assess whether they may have a drinking problem.

  • The food you eat can affect your health and your risk for certain diseases. To eat healthier food, you may need to change some of your daily habits. You also may need to change some things in your environment. Your environment includes everything...

  • Looks at eating plans for those who have had kidney stones. Explains what kidney stones are. Offers tips for preventing kidney stones, including drinking more water. Lists foods you should avoid.

  • A heart-healthy eating plan is full of foods that can lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. This plan can help you stay at a healthy weight and manage cholesterol and blood pressure. It is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle that...

  • Follow your body's hunger and fullness signals. Smart snacking can help you keep your blood sugar levels stable, especially if you are taking medicine for diabetes. Try these tips: Enjoy eating the right portion. Try using a smaller plate, bowl, or glass while you slowly eat your snack...

  • Provides links to topics on how to eat well. Topics cover nutrition. Offers healthy eating and physical activity tips. Includes info on healthy weight and healthy eating for children.

  • Provides links to info on healthy living. Topics discuss healthy weight and weight loss. Discusses balancing how much you eat with how much you exercise. Covers whether your weight increases health risks. Includes info on nutrition.

  • How does alcohol affect diabetes? When you have diabetes, you need to be careful with alcohol. If you take medicine for diabetes, drinking alcohol may cause low blood sugar. Too much alcohol can also affect your ability to know when your blood sugar is low and to treat it. Drinking alcohol can make you feel...

  • Habits are hard to break. That's why the sooner in life we build good, healthy habits, the easier it is to keep them and stay as healthy as possible. And when good habits are in place, it's easier to resist bad ones. The most important thing to...

  • Childhood is the best time to learn the healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Healthy eating can help your child feel good, stay at or reach a healthy weight, and have lots of energy for school and play. In fact, healthy eating can help your whole family live better. Return to topic: Healthy Eating for Children...

  • High cholesterol is treated with heart-healthy lifestyle changes and medicine. These can lower your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. You and your doctor may decide to first try treating your high cholesterol without medicine. Changing some of your habits may be all you need to do to...

  • Eating low-glycemic foods is one tool to help keep your diabetes under control. The glycemic index is a rating system for foods that contain carbohydrate. It helps you know how quickly a food with carbohydrate raises blood sugar, so you can focus on eating foods that raise blood sugar slowly. Foods that raise...

  • What is the Mediterranean diet? The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating rather than a formal diet plan. It features foods eaten in Greece, Spain, southern Italy and France, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating foods like fish, fruits, vegetables...

  • If you decide to join a weight-loss program, here are some questions to ask before you join: Does the program provide counseling? A good program teaches you how to permanently change your eating and exercise habits with group or one-on-one support. Is the staff qualified? All program staff...

  • Dieting is hard. But avoiding "empty" calories helps you reach a healthy weight without feeling like you're dieting. Your body needs a certain amount of energy each day. Energy comes from food in the form of calories. Calories let you function and keep doing your daily activities. But after your body meets its needs...

  • Learn how to make healthy changes that can help delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

  • Learn how carbohydrate foods raise your blood sugar.

  • Your body needs a certain number of calories each day for you to function and keep doing your daily activities. After your body meets its needs, it stores extra calories as fat. Your weight remains steady when your body takes in the same amount of...

  • You can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy by taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle. These healthy habits include not smoking, eating right, exercising regularly, staying at a healthy weight, and getting the screening tests you need. A heart-healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, not just for...

  • How is it that two people of the same age, gender, and height can eat the same foods and be equally active, but one gains weight while the other loses it? One piece of the puzzle is metabolism. How well your body burns energy to keep up basic functions like heartbeat, breathing, and thinking is called your basal...

  • Learn how the DASH eating plan can help lower your blood pressure.

  • Explains artificial nutrition using tube feeding. Covers how a tube is inserted (gastrostomy) and how the tube is used for feeding. Helps you understand daily life with a feeding tube, including caring for the tube and avoiding common problems.

  • What is a low-fiber diet? A low-fiber diet contains foods that don't create much waste (stool). This diet slows down your bowels and gives them a chance to rest. Fiber is the part of plants that your body can't digest. It gives bulk to your diet and helps you feel full. It also helps you have regular bowel...

  • Warfarin is a pill that you take regularly to help prevent blood clots or to keep a clot from getting bigger. Coumadin is the common brand name for warfarin. To ensure that warfarin is effectively thinning your blood, it's important to eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K normally helps your...

  • Learn simple tips for healthy eating.

  • Learn how you can benefit from healthy eating.

  • Learn how to improve your diet with a few simple changes.

  • Learn how reframing your thoughts about managing your weight can make a healthy difference.

  • Learn how good nutrition can give you energy and help you stay healthy.

  • Learn about the nutrients you need to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

  • Learn how to eat to keep your blood sugar in your target range during pregnancy.

  • Learn how to start eating foods that are good for your heart.

  • Many people are concerned about chemicals in or on the food they eat, so they are turning to organic foods or foods free of pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics. Use the following tips to reduce the chemicals in your diet. To be sure that the food...

  • Learn about making healthy changes that can help lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

  • Potassium is a mineral in your cells that helps your nerves and muscles work right. The right balance of potassium also keeps your heart beating at a steady rate. A potassium level that is too high or too low can be dangerous. If your levels are...

  • Potassium is a mineral in your cells. It helps your nerves and muscles work as they should. The right balance of potassium also keeps your heart beating at a steady rate. A potassium level that is too high or too low can be dangerous. If your levels are high or low, you may need to change the way you eat...

  • Learn how to practice saying no when friends and family offer you food and drink.

  • See how to get back to taking care of your heart.

  • Learn how to make meals that are low in salt.

  • Learn how to care for a feeding tube at home.

  • Hear how other teens got past the things that kept them from healthier eating.

  • Hear how one teen got motivated to take charge of his weight and eating habits.

  • Learn three proven strategies to help reach a healthy weight.

  • Get inspired to make some healthy changes to the way you eat.

  • Get help staying on track with your healthy eating goal.

  • What is a vegan diet? A vegan (say "VEE-gun" or "VAY-gun") diet is a total vegetarian diet. Besides not eating meat, vegans don't eat food that comes from animals in any way. That includes milk products, eggs, honey, and gelatin (which comes from bones and other animal tissue). There are many reasons why some...

  • Learn the signs of possible risky use of alcohol and think about the role alcohol plays in your life.

  • Hear how others found the motivation to change their relationship to alcohol.

  • Use this form to record the sodium content of the foods you eat or drink each day. This record will help you see whether you are getting too much sodium in your diet. Use the Nutrition Facts on food labels to help find how much sodium you eat. You can tell when your body retains fluid by weighing yourself often. Sodium...

  • Alcohol can be a safe and enjoyable part of life. If you choose to drink alcohol, the key is to keep your drinking at low to moderate levels. People who drink too much are hurting their health. Heavy drinking can cause all kinds of problems, from stomach and sexual problems to stroke and liver disease. It can also...

  • Tells how to limit sodium (salt) for better health. Gives tips on low-sodium diet and reading food labels. Includes tips for cooking with less sodium.

  • Almost all foods contain sodium, or salt, naturally or as an ingredient. But you don't always know it's there, or how much is there. Here are some tips to help you find sodium. Know what "low sodium'' means Labels on foods often claim that the food is "low-sodium" or something similar. Learn what these...

  • If you're like most people, evening meal prep is up there with doing laundry. Here's the secret to meal planning: plan just 3 to 5 meals ahead—it's less overwhelming. Your social plans can stay in place, and you can roll with whatever comes up. With...

  • Listen to your body to tell you when you're hungry or full. Hunger is a normal sensation that makes you want to eat. Your body tells your brain that your stomach is empty. This makes your stomach growl and gives you hunger pangs. Hunger makes some people feel lightheaded or grouchy. Everyone is different...

  • Foods containing carbohydrate are grouped into the following categories. The carbohydrate content is listed in grams (g). If you eat a larger portion, count it as more than one serving. One serving of carbohydrate has 15 grams of carbohydrate. Of course, not all foods contain exactly 15 grams of carbohydrate...

  • Fats are nutrients that give you energy. Fats have 9 calories in each gram. Fats help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fats are either saturated or unsaturated, and most foods with fat have both types. But usually there is more of one kind of fat than the other. Saturated fat...

  • Emotional eating means that you eat for reasons other than hunger. You may eat because you're sad, depressed, stressed, or lonely. Or you may use food as a reward. Food can be soothing and distract you from what's really bothering you. If you are an...

  • Keep a journal to record your eating patterns. It might look like this: Time Food/Amount Hunger (1–10)* Place Feelings *The 1 to 10 scale goes from least full to most full. So "1" means you're extremely hungry or starving, and "10" means you're so...

  • Protein is made of building blocks called amino acids. Although the human body can make some of these amino acids, nine of them (the essential amino acids) must be obtained from food. Soy foods and animal sources of protein (milk, eggs, meat,...

  • Discusses dealing with negative feelings that can interfere with your ability to follow your diet for diabetes. Provides ways to deal with negative feelings about your diet. Includes links to more info on type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

  • Oxalate is a compound found in some foods, and it is also produced as a waste product by the body. It exits the body through the urine. Too much oxalate may cause kidney stones in some people. Foods high in oxalate include: Beans. Beer. Beets....

  • Explains using plate format as easy way to plan meals. Looks at how it helps keep your blood sugar level from going way up and down. Covers how it can be used with other meal-planning methods. Discusses how it helps you eat healthy foods.

  • If you are at risk for low blood sugar levels because of diabetes or some other health condition, you need to keep with you at all times some type of food that can quickly raise your blood sugar level. Eating quick-sugar food puts glucose into your bloodstream in about 5 minutes. Glucose or sucrose is the best choice...

  • People often think that following a diet for diabetes means giving up foods they like and having to eat foods they don't like. If you think a diet for diabetes means you can't eat any of the foods you like, try this: Write down what foods are good for you, which are bad for you, which foods you like, and which foods you...

  • Dietary Reference Intake is a term for a set of nutrient intake recommendations for healthy people. They include the average daily level that nearly all healthy people should take to meet the nutrient requirements. They also include the maximum...

  • Milk, yogurt, and cheese provide a lot of calcium. But there are other foods that have calcium, such as kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage. You can also get calcium by eating the soft bones of canned sardines and canned salmon. And calcium is...

  • A food record can help you evaluate your eating habits and track your progress as you make changes. As you record your intake, fill in the squares to account for the amount you eat from each food group. To do this, you will need to know how much of...

  • Covers counting carbohydrates for people with type 2 diabetes who do not take insulin. Explains carb counting to manage blood sugar levels. Also explains how to count them.

  • Describes ketogenic diet and why it is used. Covers what to expect after treatment with diet as well as how well diet works. Lists risk factors and provides consideration points when using this treatment. Describes other special diets.

  • Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis), cancer, and other conditions. You are exposed to...

  • Riboflavin is vitamin B2. Vitamins are naturally occurring substances necessary for many processes in the body. Riboflavin is important in the maintenance of many tissues of the body. Riboflavin is used to treat or prevent deficiencies of riboflavin. Riboflavin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication...

  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is important in the maintenance of many tissues of the body. Riboflavin ophthalmic (for the eyes) is a "photosensitive" solution used during a procedure to treat progressive keratoconus in adults and adolescents who are at least 14 years old. Keratoconus (KER-a-toe-KOE-nus) is a...

  • Eating fish, at least 2 servings each week, is part of a heart-healthy diet. Fish oil supplements can lower triglycerides. But doctors do not agree about whether these supplements can help protect your heart. Fish and fish oil supplements do not...

  • To date, no diet is known to cure, prevent, or relieve lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE) symptoms. But poor nutrition makes it harder for your body to battle chronic illness. To make sure that you have a healthful, balanced diet, your...

  • If you are breastfeeding, your doctor may suggest that you eat more calories each day than otherwise recommended for a person of your height and weight. Be sure to ask your doctor about how much and what to eat if you: Are very active. Begin to lose weight rapidly. Are breastfeeding more than one...

  • Getting a person with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia to eat enough may be a challenge in some cases. Some of these tips may help you. If the person resists using a spoon or fork, don't force the issue. Some people may have vision or motor...

  • Eating a nutritious, balanced diet is an important part of treating HIV. Good nutrition can help your immune system stay strong, which in turn may help your body fight HIV. Knowing the best way to nourish your body will help keep it strong and allow...

  • Gluten is a protein found in some grains, notably wheat, barley, and rye. Some foods and food products may contain gluten even when it is not specifically listed as an ingredient. The following foods and food products may have hidden gluten: Ice...

  • A balanced, nutritious diet during pregnancy is important to maintain your health and nourish your fetus. In general, pregnant women need to increase their daily caloric intake by 340 calories in the second trimester and 450 calories in the third trimester. Most women who are pregnant need 2,200 to 2,900 calories a...

  • Even though you're not pregnant yet, you might already be thinking about which room to turn into the baby's room and how to decorate it. And you might be making lists of all the baby clothes and supplies that you'll need. But it's also a good time to take some steps to help yourself have a happy pregnancy and a healthy...

  • Food provides energy for physical activity. As you get more active and more fit, and/or as you lose weight, your energy needs (how many calories you need) may change. To get the energy you require, you need to get the proper amount of: Protein, which is needed to maintain and rebuild tissues such as muscles...

  • Eating a high-fiber diet is thought to help prevent constipation and its related problems. It may lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and help control blood sugar levels. And it may help with reaching and staying at a healthy weight....

  • Avoid unplanned eating and drinking Having regular low-calorie snacks throughout the day along with regular smaller meals is a good way to manage your hunger. Plan snacks as part of your overall calories for the day, and avoid eating unplanned calories. Do not sample the food while cooking. When...

  • People who have anorexia often have difficulty at mealtimes. If mealtime is a stressful time for you, try something different. During meals: Try to eat slowly and gradually. Do not allow yourself to get overwhelmed by the idea of eating a meal. Talk...

  • The following nutritional treatments may be used for inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease). Enteral nutrition is a fluid given through a tube that is inserted into the nose, down the throat, and into the stomach. This...

  • There are many ways that adults can help children and teens develop a healthy approach to food and exercise. Avoid punishing or rewarding your children with food. Be a good role model for healthy eating and exercising. Be a good role model by having...

  • Most people with Parkinson's disease can eat the same healthy, balanced diet recommended for anyone. This includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, legumes, poultry, fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Early in the disease,...

  • As part of a healthy diet, eat at least two servings of fish each week. Oily fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are best. These fish include salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines. Fish is an important part of a heart-healthy...

  • Low to moderate alcohol use (no more than 2 drinks a day for men, 1 drink a day for women) might lower the risk of coronary artery disease. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. But if you do not drink alcohol, do not start drinking to try to lower your risk of heart disease. You have many other options that can...

  • You can make changes to your eating habits to help relieve your symptoms of heartburn. Here are some things to try: It's best to eat several small meals instead of two or three large meals. After you eat, wait 2 to 3 hours before you lie down....

  • Good nutrition is important for cancer patients. Nutrition is a process in which food is taken in and used by the body for growth, to keep the body healthy, and to replace tissue. Good nutrition is important for good health. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after cancer treatment can help the patient...

  • Increase your fluid intake to replace lost fluids when you have a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or sweating. The following suggested amounts of fluids to drink every hour are based on body weight: Your weight Fluid Pounds Kilograms Ounces Milliliters...

  • You may help cut down on your salt (sodium) intake by using a salt substitute. To make your own salt substitute, mix the following ingredients together and put them in a shaker: 0.5 tsp ( 2.5 g) cayenne pepper 0.5 tsp ( 2.5 g) garlic powder 1 tsp ( 5 g) each: Basil Onion powder Black...

  • When your child is not feeling well, he or she may not want anything to drink. This may happen if your child has a fever or diarrhea or is vomiting. It is important that your child drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration. Not drinking enough fluid can cause constipation. When the weather gets hot or when your child is...

  • Covers how you can start eating healthier. Looks at making small changes toward healthier eating habits. Offers advice on dealing with barriers to healthy eating. Includes how healthy eating can help lower your risk for disease.

  • There are many studies being done to look at whether certain vitamin and mineral supplements and combinations of supplements may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or delay vision loss in people who already have it. For example, the...

  • Food makers can make health claims about certain nutrients, such as calcium, fiber, and fat, that are found naturally in foods. The health claims must be balanced and based on current, reliable scientific studies and must be approved by the U.S....

  • The tables below list the vitamins, what they do in the body (their functions), and their sources in food. Water-soluble vitamins Water-soluble vitamins travel freely through the body, and excess amounts usually are excreted by the kidneys. The body needs water-soluble vitamins in frequent, small doses. These...

  • The body needs many minerals; these are called essential minerals. Essential minerals are sometimes divided up into major minerals (macrominerals) and trace minerals (microminerals). These two groups of minerals are equally important, but trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than major minerals. The amounts...

  • You can handle stress better when you are as healthy as possible, so eating nutritiously is a good defense against stress. The tips below focus on using nutrition to reduce the symptoms of stress. For more information about eating right, see the topic Healthy Eating. Avoid or limit caffeine. Coffee, tea...

  • Discusses changing your diet to help protect your kidneys when you have kidney disease. Gives general ideas about how to follow the diet your doctor or dietitian recommends. Covers restricting salt (sodium), protein, phosphorus, and potassium.

  • Covers following an eating plan for inflammatory bowel disease. Helps you learn more about how to eat so you can manage your symptoms but still get the nutrition you need. Looks at common problem foods.

  • Discusses foods to improve heart health. Looks at basic rules of a heart healthy eating, including eating more fruits and vegetables. Lists specific foods that are considered good for your heart.

  • There are things you can do while shopping to help prevent food poisoning. Put raw meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and shellfish in separate bags, and do not mix them with other food items. Do not buy meat or poultry that has a tear in the package or is leaking. Pick up your refrigerated and frozen items at the end of...

  • Food packaging labels provide information about when to use the food and how to store it. Reading food labels and following safety instructions will greatly reduce your chance of becoming ill with food poisoning. The following guidelines are included on a packaging label. Sell by: This tells the store...

  • Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. They may only eat a few foods, then abruptly refuse them. Toddlers also have rapidly changing appetites. Although toddlers grow steadily throughout their second year, their growth rates are less dramatic than during the first year, which often is reflected in how much they eat...

  • If changing your alcohol use is a goal, then knowing what you'll gain by cutting back on or not drinking can help keep you motivated. Take a moment to fill out the form. Be honest. You may find that you have good reasons to cut back or quit-whatever your goal is. Put a check next to the statements that you agree with...

  • You can take steps today to stop drinking. Your first step might be to see your doctor, contact a support group, or set a date in the near future to stop. While some people can stop drinking on their own, others need medical help to manage the physical process of withdrawal. If you think you have alcohol use disorder...

  • My plan to stop drinking alcohol I will stop drinking any alcohol on (date): _______________. I have written down my reasons for not drinking and placed the list: _______________________________________________________. I have discussed my plan with my family and asked for their support. They will support me by...

  • Your doctor, registered dietitian, or certified diabetes educator may suggest that you use one of two ways to count carbohydrate in your diet. For both, 15 grams of carbohydrate equals one serving. Use the method that is easiest for you. Counting grams of carbohydrate. For example, if you want to eat 45...

  • If you think you might have alcohol use disorder, talk with your doctor before trying to stop drinking. If you have alcohol use disorder, you should stop drinking, not just cut back. If you are physically dependent, you might develop severe withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking on your own. Whether you have...

  • A balanced vegetarian diet can provide all the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy. If you eat a vegetarian diet, pay special attention to getting enough protein, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, zinc, and iron while you are pregnant and breastfeeding. These nutrients are vital to your fetus's cellular growth...

  • Studies suggest that taking vitamin B6 for morning sickness greatly improves nausea, though not vomiting, for many pregnant women. There has been no sign of harm to the fetus with vitamin B6 use. A typical dose of vitamin B6 for morning sickness is 10 mg to 25 mg, 3 times a day. Talk to your health professional...

  • Covers eating a variety of foods so that your child gets the nutrients he or she needs for normal growth. Looks at how much food is good for your child and how you can help your child eat well and be healthy. Explains how to help a child who is overweight.

  • A number of things have a powerful influence on how and what we eat. Consider the following as you plan healthy food choices for your child: Availability of food. Because food is so readily available in our culture, it is easy to eat without thinking about how hungry you really are or how much you have...

  • Guides you through carbohydrate counting as a good way to help control blood sugar when you have gestational diabetes. Explains why you need to count carbohydrates and how to count them. Includes suggestions that can help you count carbohydrate grams.

  • Guides through decision to receive artificial hydration and nutrition if you have a life-threatening or terminal illness. Describes various feeding-tube methods. Discusses benefits and risks. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Eating well when you have cancer means eating enough to prevent weight loss and keep your strength up. Cancer and cancer treatments can make it harder for your body to get what it needs from the food you eat. And your body needs good nutrition to...

  • Why is potassium important? Your body needs potassium to help your muscles contract, maintain fluid balance, and maintain a normal blood pressure. Normal potassium levels in the body help to keep the heart beating regularly. Potassium may help reduce your risk of kidney stones and also bone loss as you age. Healthy...

  • Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of injury from cold exposure. Alcohol: Changes your body's ability to regulate body temperature. Changes your judgment. For example, a person may not put on more clothing when it is needed if his or her judgment is changed by alcohol. Can cause blood vessels in the skin to get...

  • Why is diet important for heart failure? Diet is critical in the treatment of heart failure. Limiting sodium is typically recommended to limit fluid build-up. But some other nutrients or substances also play a role as well. Heart failure can become more severe if diet and medicine recommendations for heart failure are...

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in marine or plant sources, such as fish oil and flaxseed oil. A few studies suggest that adding omega-3 fatty acids to medicine (such as lithium) can help reduce the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder in some people. Omega-3 fatty acids don't seem to have an effect on the manic...

  • Purines (specific chemical compounds found in some foods) are broken down into uric acid. A diet rich in purines from certain sources can raise uric acid levels in the body, which sometimes leads to gout. Meat and seafood may increase your risk of gout. Dairy products may lower your risk. Foods to limit (very high in...

  • Discusses taking calcium and vitamin D to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Includes info on how much calcium you need based on your age or life stage. Offers list of calcium-rich foods and calcium supplements.

  • For many people, eating out is a way to relax and socialize. But if you are watching your weight or just are concerned with healthy eating, dining out can be a challenge. The good news is that usually there are healthier options at every restaurant,...

  • A vitamin and mineral supplement provides a variety of nutrients that are also found in food. These supplements are often called multivitamins. They come in the form of pills, chewable tablets, powders, and liquids. A standard multivitamin usually...

  • Making healthy meals doesn't have to take a lot of time or require complicated recipes. There are many ways you can save time in the kitchen and still eat delicious, healthy food. It's just a matter of having the right foods on hand and learning how to take shortcuts in the kitchen. Keep your kitchen...

  • Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great way to improve your nutrition. It can be as easy as adding fruit to a bowl of cereal or adding grated carrots and zucchini to pasta sauce. These tips can help you get started. Make it easy Keep a bowl of fruit within easy reach on the kitchen counter or your desk at work...

  • A big part of healthy eating is eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk products. Healthy snacks are a great way to make sure that you get plenty of these nutritious foods every day. Use these ideas to get started. Make smart snack choices Find healthier substitutes for...

  • As a supervisor for a hospital cafeteria, Loralie makes sure that the cafeteria has plenty of healthy choices. But until recently, she didn't take advantage of the healthy choices for her own meals. Loralie's eating habits had caused her to gain...

  • Dawn is no stranger to dieting. Over the years, she followed many different weight-loss plans. Each plan worked for a while, but eventually she would go back to her old eating habits and her weight would go back up. She says that with dieting "There...

  • Jeremy grew up being active and involved in sports. But he never gave healthy eating too much thought until he found himself gaining weight several years after college. In November 2006, Jeremy hit a turning point when he found that he was too out...

  • What is folic acid? Folic acid is one of the B vitamins your body needs for good health. The vitamin is also called folate. Folate is the natural form of this vitamin. It's found in leafy green vegetables, oranges, nuts, and beans. Folic acid is the man-made form. It's put into vitamin pills...

  • How much dietary iron is recommended each day? Recommended daily amounts of iron from food Men Adult 8 mg Women Adult (age 50 and older) 8 mg Adult (ages 19 to 50) 18 mg Pregnant 27 mg Lactating 9 mg to 10 mg Adolescents (ages 9 to 18) Girls 8 mg to...

  • The American Heart Association (AHA) publishes dietary and lifestyle recommendations for general heart health. These recommendations are for healthy adults and children older than age 2 as well as people who already have health problems such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or heart failure...

  • You don't have to abandon all your favorite recipes to eat healthier. Several small changes to your current recipes can often greatly lower the saturated fat and sodium in your diet. These small changes can make a big difference in the amount of fat and calories in your diet. But they won't make much difference in how...

  • People with Down syndrome usually have some level of independence by the time they become adults. Different types of specialized therapies, counseling, and training can help them learn necessary skills and manage emotional issues. The common types...

  • Covers controlling irritable bowel syndrome with diet. Discusses limiting foods that may make symptoms like bloating or diarrhea worse. Explains importance of adding fiber to your diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting regular exercise.

  • Teaches counting carbs to help you maintain control of your blood sugar level when you have diabetes. Explains why carb counting is important, allowing you to adjust the amount of insulin you take. Includes links to more info on type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

  • A low-protein diet is the main treatment for phenylketonuria (PKU). This is because people who have PKU lack an enzyme to properly process the amino acid phenylalanine, a part of protein. Phenylalanine is present in all protein foods and in some...

  • Genes influence your weight by their effect on: How calories are used (energy metabolism). Some people use calories efficiently—they need fewer calories to fuel the body, which can result in "leftover" calories being stored as fat. Other people use calories less efficiently—they need more calories to...

  • Children who eat poorly are more likely to develop certain long-term health problems and complications, including: Osteoporosis in later life. Cardiovascular diseases. Growing up eating foods high in fat, sugar, and salt can increase the risk for...

  • Having good nutrition is important at any age. But it is especially important for older adults. Eating a healthy diet can help keep your body strong and can help lower your risk for disease. But as you get older, it can be harder to eat in healthy...

  • Developing a plan for healthy eating means setting goals, tracking your progress, and rewarding yourself. Setting goals Set goals you want to achieve. It is generally best to set small, measurable goals. You can set them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. When setting goals, consider: Where you want to start...

  • To prevent disease, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a healthy eating pattern. All food and drink choices matter. Healthy eating includes eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products or fortified soy beverages, and lean proteins. The guidelines also emphasize...

  • Sugars are a type of carbohydrate that occurs naturally or that is added to a food. Foods such as milk and fruits have naturally occurring sugars. The sugar in fruit is called fructose. The sugar in milk and yogurt is called lactose. Added sugars...

  • You can use the USDA food guide to make healthy choices about what you eat. The chart below shows the recommended amounts for adults to eat from each food group. These amounts are based on a diet of 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day. For a food guide...

  • Covers eating healthy foods when you have COPD. Looks at how shortness of breath may make eating harder and why it is important to eat regularly. Offers tips to make eating easier and help you get necessary nutrition.

  • Covers causes of weight and muscle loss when you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Includes why weight loss is a concern with COPD and how to avoid it. Guides you through ways to add nutritious calories and protein to your diet.

  • The following questions are about your use of alcohol and other drugs. Count the number of "yes" answers you have. How you figure your results is provided at the end of the questions. During the past 6 months: 1. Have you used alcohol or other drugs (such as wine, beer, hard liquor, pot, coke, heroin or...

  • Alcohol is part of many traditions and is often served at parties and other functions. And although many drugs are illegal or legal only with a prescription, people may offer them to you. If you're in a situation where someone is offering you alcohol or drugs, try this: Look the person in the eye. In a firm voice...

  • So you've decided to change your eating habits. Great! Have you thought about getting support in making this change? Having the support of people close to you is an important part of change. It doesn't matter if you're changing a job, a routine, or...

  • You know that eating right is good for you. But if you have more than one health problem, eating right may seem hard to do. Here's an example: If you have heart disease and diabetes, you may be given guidelines for each. One focuses on keeping your heart healthy and the other on keeping your blood sugar in your target...

  • Fat replacers are nonfat substances that act like fat in a food. An ideal fat replacer would be a substance that has no health risks and tastes and looks like natural fat but has fewer calories. Fat replacers can be found in foods such as baked...

  • When a food comes in a package, take a look at the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list on the package. Start with the "% Daily Value" column on the food label. A food is considered low in a specific nutrient (such as fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, or sodium) if it has 5% or less of the daily value. A food is...

  • With planning and thoughtful choices, you can follow your meal plan for diabetes when you eat away from home, such as at a party or a restaurant. Here are some tips: Plan ahead At restaurants, check for online menus that include nutrition information before you go, or ask for this information when you arrive. Most...

  • New challenges emerge when your child with diabetes begins school. Starting a good communication system with key people at the school can help make this transition a smooth one. It's helpful to schedule a conference with school personnel—principal,...

  • Teaches counting carbs to help you and your child plan meals to manage diabetes and control blood sugar. Explains why carb counting is important. Includes links to more info on counting carbs if you use insulin and on type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

  • Use this form to count carbs. List the food, how much you eat, how many grams of carbohydrates are in the serving size, and any notes you may have. Food Amount Example: strawberries 1¼ cup 13 grams Current as of: August 31, 2020 Author:...

  • Discusses mineral our bodies use for normal body functions like digesting food. Looks at how chromium helps move blood sugar and is used to treat problems like diabetes. Covers safe levels of chromium and possible side effects of dietary supplements.

  • Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be painful and, if allowed to continue, can lead to complications including esophagitis. Esophagitis is irritation or inflammation of the esophagus. You can make changes to your lifestyle to help relieve your symptoms of GERD. Here are some things to try...

  • Looks at how you can control how much salt (sodium) you eat when you eat out. Explains what salt does to your body. Lists foods to avoid and foods that are heart-healthy. Offers tips for choosing low-sodium foods at restaurants.

  • Healthy eating starts with smart food shopping. Here you will find pointers on how to make the most of your trip to the grocery store. Whether you want to eat healthier or lose weight, these tips will help you get started. Plan ahead. Before you...

  • Celiac disease is a problem some people have with foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a type of protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a wheat-rye cross). When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, it triggers an immune response that is not normal. This damages the small intestine. Symptoms...

  • Gout is a form of arthritis marked by sudden attacks of painful, inflamed joints. If it is not controlled, gout can cause severe damage to joints, tendons, and other tissues. Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood. This used to be treated with a strict diet, but now there are medicines that can control it...

  • Why is it important to get enough calcium and vitamin D? Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Calcium keeps your bones and muscles—including your heart—healthy and strong. People who do not get enough calcium and vitamin D throughout life have an increased chance of having thin and brittle bones (...

  • Millions of people struggle to lose weight and improve their diets. Finding a diet that works for you and then staying with it can be a huge challenge. Registered dietitians are experts in diet and nutrition, particularly for promoting general health and treating conditions such as high cholesterol. A dietitian can...

  • What is an environmental illness? An environmental illness can occur when you are exposed to toxins or substances in the environment that make you sick. These health hazards may be found where you live, work, or play. Maybe you have headaches that only occur on weekends. Or maybe you began to feel sick and got a...

  • Provides tips on adding DASH diet to stop high blood pressure. Includes sample DASH menu. Explains why adding more fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products helps lower high blood pressure. Includes working with experts to help plan menus.

  • DASH is an eating plan that can help lower your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension is high blood pressure. For more information on the DASH diet, see High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH Diet. Here is a sample menu for the DASH diet. It is based on a 2,000-calorie diet...

  • What are sugar alcohols? Sugar alcohols are a type of sweetener used in foods labeled "sugar-free." You'll find them in chewing gum, sugar-free candies, cookies, soft drinks, and other foods. Sugar alcohols have about one-half to one-third fewer calories than sugar. For example, if a food label doesn't list sugar as...

  • Weight loss in people with HIV has many possible causes. If you lose weight fast, it may be because you have another infection along with HIV. This type of illness is called an opportunistic infection. Gradual weight loss may be due to problems with nutrition. You may lose weight if you can't eat enough food or if your...

  • Covers why you should cut unhealthy fats (saturated fats and trans fats) from your diet. Looks at healthy fats (polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat). Offers tips for making healthier choices. Links to in-depth info on healthy eating.

  • If you have decided to start a healthy eating plan, congratulations! Making that decision is an important step in becoming a healthier person. Keep these key points in mind: When you're trying to develop new habits—whether it's healthy eating, getting more exercise, or quitting smoking—you have a better...

  • Teaches listening to body signals that tell you when you're hungry or full (satiety). Describes hunger signals. Covers steps to get back in touch with your hunger signals so that you don't reach for food when you're not hungry. Covers keeping food journal.

  • Eating one healthy meal isn't hard. It's not even hard to eat three healthy meals in a single day. The hard part is making changes in your daily life so that you start eating healthy every day—and keep eating healthy every day. If you're having problems staying with your plan, don't worry. You're not alone. You'll be...

  • Replacing a bad habit with a good habit takes time and patience. It requires several steps, from setting your goals to getting support. One of the important steps is figuring out what your barriers are. What has stopped you from changing your eating...

  • Guides through decision to use over-the-counter diet aids for weight loss. Explains lack of evidence that diet aids work. Lists the risks and side effects. Includes information about Alli. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • In a very general sense, a vegetarian is someone who doesn't eat meat. But that definition is too simple. There are several kinds of vegetarian diets: Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat milk products—such as milk, cheese, and yogurt—and eggs, but no meat, poultry, seafood, or fish. "Lacto" means "milk." "Ovo"...

  • What is organic food? Food that is labeled "organic" has been grown or raised without synthetic chemical fertilizers, pest killers (pesticides), weed killers (herbicides), hormones, or drugs. Synthetic means that they are made in a lab. This means that farmers and ranchers who grow organic food: Use...

  • There are ways to make healthy eating fit your budget. You'll be surprised by how spending just a little extra time can save you money. And the more time you spend—in planning, shopping, and cooking—the more money you'll save. Save money by learning and planning: Plan and shop for a week's worth of meals at a time...

  • Maggie Morris lost 50 pounds by focusing on one meal at a time. "I don't eat the way I used to. It's a matter of making choices every day. One day I might decide to eat more than another day, and that's okay, as long as I'm paying attention," she...

  • Maggie Morris still eats a little birthday cake now and then. And she doesn't shy away from restaurants, because she loves to eat out. She just makes sure to allow for it in her eating plan. Morris says she knows that to deprive herself of any...

  • Changing the way you eat doesn't always mean you have to give up your favorite foods. Maggie Morris includes her beloved pizza and the occasional hamburger or filet mignon in her food plan. But she has them only about every three months. And she has...

  • Whatever you do, don't tell Jaci that you can tell she's been on a diet. The 30-year-old mother of two feels strongly that losing 65 pounds over 4 years was the result of permanent lifestyle changes—not dieting. "I actually get mad at people when they say, 'You've been on a diet.' I'm not on a diet. I've never been on a...

  • Maggie lost some weight a few years ago. But like many people who go on diets, she couldn't keep the pounds off. She didn't eat enough food, so she was hungry. And she denied herself the food she really loved, like pizza. Then she changed the way she looked at food and what it meant to be healthier. She lost 50 pounds...

  • Experts say that for the best health, men should have no more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day. And women should have no more than 1 drink a day. Tips about changing your habits Know your reasons. Write down your reasons for wanting to cut back (for example, to lower blood pressure or to lose...

  • "I'm a believer!" That's the proclamation from Izzy, a 60-year-old clerk from Petaluma, Calif. She's talking about a way of eating that helped her lose weight and brought her blood pressure way down. "If there were a commercial for the DASH diet,...

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