10 Nutrition Tips for a Healthy New Year

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Having trailed nutrition trends as a health reporter for years, I’ve witnessed numerous waves that surged and faded – think olestra, the Paleo diet, and the celery juice craze.

Observing the ebb and flow of these dietary fads leads to a realization: the most valuable nutritional advice stems from extensive decades-long research. Scientists scrutinize queries from myriad angles, culminating in a sort of collective agreement.

Now, here’s a compilation of 10 scientifically substantiated insights to guide you into the upcoming year.


Table of Contents

1. The Mediterranean diet really is that good for you.

Research spanning decades strongly advocates for the Mediterranean diet as one of the healthiest eating patterns available. This diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, nuts, as well as a variety of herbs and spices. Its plethora of benefits for heart health is well-documented and has been associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline, and specific forms of cancer.

If you’re considering embracing the Mediterranean diet but feel uncertain about where to begin, hang tight. Commencing on January 15th, we’ll be offering a week filled with practical advice and delectable recipes tailored to Mediterranean-style eating in the Well newsletter. Sign up here to join us on this journey.


2. It’s OK to drink coffee on an empty stomach.

According to experts, although some individuals might encounter heartburn, there’s no substantial evidence suggesting that consuming coffee on an empty stomach can harm your digestive system or cause damage to your gastric lining. In fact, there are positive aspects to savor about your morning cup: Studies have associated coffee consumption with an extended lifespan, as well as a reduced risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

3. Start your day with a healthy breakfast.

Mornings often rush by, tempting us to opt for a speedy muffin or even skip breakfast entirely. However, nutrition experts emphasize the significance of prioritizing this morning meal – especially when it comprises a well-rounded blend of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Such a breakfast serves as fuel for your day, and research indicates that individuals who regularly consume breakfast tend to experience various health advantages. These benefits include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Read more: Superfoods for super moms: Nutrient-rich diet plans for postpartum recovery


4. Take good care of your gut.

Maintaining a healthy and efficient digestive system serves as a shield against common discomforts such as heartburn, bloating, and constipation, ultimately contributing to improved overall health. Notably, the optimal approach to nurturing your gut involves providing yourself – and consequently, your gut microbes – with a balanced diet rich in fiber. Prioritizing a diverse range of plant-based and fermented foods is key to caring for your gut.

5. You probably don’t need protein bars.

Despite being promoted as a health-oriented or vital for athletic endeavors, many protein bars contain high levels of added sugar. According to experts, fulfilling your protein requirements through whole foods like yogurt, nuts, beans, or eggs is a preferable choice.

6. Go easy on the dark chocolate nutrition.

This could be noted as one of the more disheartening nutrition revelations of 2023. Dark chocolate surprisingly contains elevated levels of lead and cadmium, heavy metals known for their potential harm to the body, in comparison to various other foods. However, there’s no need to completely forgo your love for dark chocolate. Experts recommend indulging in moderation – about an ounce per day – to minimize your risk.


7. Blending fruits and veggies won’t destroy their nutrients.

Blending fruits and vegetables into a purée using a blender doesn’t diminish their essential vitamins, minerals, or fiber content. Interestingly, several small-scale studies indicate that consuming your fruit in blended form doesn’t significantly raise your blood sugar compared to eating it whole. Therefore, feel free to savor your smoothie without worry. Additionally, explore our tips for enhancing the nutritional value of your smoothie.

Read more: Top 3 Best Ranchology Recipes

8. Cottage cheese is back.

While cottage cheese might evoke memories of fad diets from the 1970s, it remains a steadfast and enduring food choice. It made a significant splash on TikTok this summer, and rightfully so. Whether enjoyed on its own or utilized as a flexible ingredient in sweet or savory snacks, cottage cheese boasts an impressive lineup of nutrients. It’s a source of protein, calcium, selenium, and a variety of other beneficial elements.


9. Tofu really is good for you, too.

In previous years, concerns emerged regarding the potential connection between tofu and other soy-based foods with cancer or fertility issues due to their estrogen-like compounds. However, scientists assert that studies have dispelled these worries. In fact, research indicates that consuming soy-based foods might actually lower the risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer.

10. It’s challenging to separate nutrition myths from facts.

Misconceptions about nutrition often persist within American culture and our thoughts, leading to confusion and occasional anxiety regarding our dietary choices. To address these concerns, we consulted 10 nutrition experts who shared the myths they hoped would vanish akin to plates of freshly baked cookies at a holiday gathering.

A Guide to Better Nutrition

  • Flaxseeds offer impressive benefits for heart health and inflammation, yet they aren’t a cure-all.
  • No single food can solely prevent cancer, but incorporating specific foods into your diet might help reduce the risk.
  • Research suggests that late-night snacking correlates with issues like heartburn, disrupted sleep, and metabolic concerns.
  • Curious about protein needs? Test your knowledge with our quiz to understand this crucial nutrient.
  • Did you know that cooling starchy foods like pasta, rice, and potatoes might positively impact their structure and potentially benefit your health? Learn more.
  • Iron deficiency affects many women in the U.S. Discover how to identify if you’re iron-deficient and how to address it.
  • Wondering if certain foods like fruits or vegetables promote clear skin, while others like soda or white bread exacerbate acne? Here’s what we’ve learned.

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