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  • Writer's picturePreeti Bansal Kshirsagar

Harvard Health! Guess the 10 foods that may impact your risk of dying from chronic conditions!

So!! Harvard Health released the list of 10 food groups that may impact your risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Any guesses on what those foods are??

See Harvard's list below and my comments in Red

Foods to eat more!

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. Love it!!

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. I like this!!!

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. Agreed!!

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, bulgur, brown rice, or farro. Make ahead, keep refrigerated, and heat for a warm side or add cold to a salad. Yes! Yes! Yes!! All good options!!

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 healthy oils such as canola or olive oil in place of butter. Eat a small spoonful of nut butter instead of a piece of white toast for a mid morning snack.

So this is super confusing!! On one hand Harvard is giving the wonderful advise to eat Fruits, Vegetables and Whole Grains, and on the other hand it's saying replace Carbohydrates with Polyunsaturated Fats? Aren't Whole grains, Fruits and Starchy Vegetables rich source of Carbohydrates? Yes ofcourse they are!!

Why do organizations like Harvard support Fruits, Vegetables and Whole Grains, but then slam down Carbs to give confusing messages? I say yes, replace processed white carbs, but not with processed fats like oils! Replace them with un-processed carbs like Whole Grains!!

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. Well we know where this is coming from...of course the Mediterranean Diet.... we all know where the "scientific" world is on that, so I need not comment more....

Foods to eat less:

Pretty much agree on all Five!!

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. Cut back on the American Heart Association’s Salty Six: breads and rolls, pizza, sandwiches, cold cuts and cured meats, soups, and burritos and tacos. Ummm... so now is this all soups or just unhealthy canned soups? There can be some really healthy home made bean/lentil/vegetable soups low in Sodium. And believe it or not, these are some quite healthy low sodium canned soups too, if one is willing to look carefully!!

Processed meats: Goal = 0 servings per day. Put chicken or tuna in your sandwiches instead of bologna, ham, salami, or hot dogs. Or try plant based fillings like beans or nut butters. OK, hold your fork on chicken or tuna, but why is this the only place where beans are mentioned in the whole article? In the past, Harvard has raved about beans, so why relegate them to such insignificant position in this article? Beans are a rich source of protein with the added bonus of fiber and sans the saturated fat and cholesterol that comes with all animal protein.

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, and seltzer water are also great substitutes.

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Red meat: Goal = less than 4 ounces per week. Use red meat more as a side and not as the main attraction (a small amount of lean meat in a veggie-heavy stir fry, for example). Go meatless one night per week. A good starting point from the Standard American Diet, but leaves a lot to be desired!!

Read the entire article here and do leave your comments on the website or on the Facebook post :-)

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