Should I Be Eating...?

Choose from hundreds of foods, from almonds to zucchini, and find out their effects on your health.

Find out the hidden health benefits in your favorite foods. Browse the index from A to Z and discover the powerful nutrients, vitamins, and minerals each food contains — plus the medical conditions and concerns these foods can help treat.

  • Bacon, Turkey
    Turkey bacon is a healthier, lower-calorie and lower-fat alternative to regular pork bacon. That's because regular pork bacon is high in saturated fat and can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and, when eaten in excess, can contribute to weight gain. Lean turkey bacon is a terrific substitute since it's lower in fat and calories and a good source of protein. However, turkey bacon is typically very high in sodium, which can raise blood pressure, so enjoy it in moderation. Learn mo...
  • Bananas
    Bananas are an easy grab-and-go fruit with a good amount of fiber, which can help with weight loss, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes; potassium, a mineral that helps lower blood pressure and the risk of osteoporosis; and vitamin B6, which can help reduce PMS symptoms and contribute to healthy hair. Bananas also make a great bedtime snack for people who have insomnia, since they are a low-protein/high-carb food that helps produce serotonin, a sleep-promoting chemical. Find out more about fruit.
  • Barley
    Barley is a high-quality, whole-grain carbohydrate. It contains a good amount of soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and stabilize blood-sugar levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and keeping mood stable. Barley is also a good source of vitamin B6, a B vitamin that may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Barley is not a gluten-free grain, so if you have celiac disease be sure to read labels and avoid it. Note to IBS sufferers: Barley is rich in fiber, which may cause...
  • Basil
    Basil, a fragrant green herb commonly used in Italian cooking, comes in many varieties, including sweet basil, Thai basil, and lemon basil. Fresh basil is available during the summer, but you can get dried basil all year round. When cooking with fresh basil, it's best to add it at the end of cooking so it doesn't lose its vibrant green color and delicious flavor. Like other herbs, basil adds flavor to food without adding sodium, calories, and fat. Learn more about herbs and spices.
  • Bay Leaves
    Bay leaves are an herb that can be found fresh or dried and are most often used in cooking to flavor soups, stews, and other slow-cooking dishes. Dried bay leaves are most commonly used whole and have a longer shelf life and more developed flavor than fresh ones. However, be sure to remove the leaves before serving — the whole dried leaves are not meant to be eaten. Like other herbs, bay leaves add a lot of flavor without the addition of salt. Learn more about herbs and spices.
  • Bean Curd
    Bean curd, also known as tofu, is a soy product that is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the curds into blocks. Bean curd comes in different varieties from soft to extra firm, and it is used as a meat substitute in vegetarian cuisine. Because it's made from whole soybeans, bean curd is rich in protein and heart-healthy fats, making it a stellar protein choice for weight loss and weight management, as well as prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. It is a...
  • Beans
    Beans contain many heart-healthy nutrients that help lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure; reduce your risk of coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes; and help you lose weight. Packed with lean protein, soluble fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium, beans are also great for preventing and treating osteoporosis and migraines. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to beans and experience discomfort after eating them. Find out more about beans...
  • Beans, Black
    Black beans contain many heart-healthy nutrients that help lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure; reduce your risk of coronary-artery disease and type 2 diabetes; and help you lose weight. Packed with lean protein, soluble fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium, black beans are also great for preventing osteoporosis; improving mood, memory, and PMS symptoms; and maintaining healthy hair. Magnesium-rich black beans are also helpful for individuals who experience migrain...
  • Beans, Garbanzo
    Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, contain many heart-healthy nutrients that help lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure; reduce your risk of coronary-artery disease and type 2 diabetes; and help you lose weight. Packed with lean protein, soluble fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium, garbanzos are also great for preventing osteoporosis; fighting migraines; improving mood, memory, and PMS symptoms; and maintaining healthy hair. IBS sufferers take note: Some peopl...
  • Beans, Kidney
    Kidney beans contain many heart-healthy nutrients that help lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure; reduce your risk of coronary-artery disease and type 2 diabetes; and help you lose weight. Packed with lean protein, soluble fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium, kidney beans are also great for preventing osteoporosis; improving mood, memory, and PMS symptoms; and maintaining healthy hair. Magnesium-rich kidney beans are also helpful for individuals who experience migr...
  • Beans, Lima
    Lima beans contain many heart-healthy nutrients that help lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure; reduce your risk of coronary-artery disease and type 2 diabetes; and help you lose weight. Packed with lean protein, soluble fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium, lima beans are also great for preventing osteoporosis; improving mood, memory, and PMS symptoms; and maintaining healthy hair. If you suffer from migraines or IBS you may need to avoid eating lima beans, since y...
  • Beans, Navy
    Navy beans contain many heart-healthy nutrients that help lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure; reduce your risk of coronary-artery disease and type 2 diabetes; and help you lose weight. Packed with lean protein, soluble fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium, navy beans are also great for preventing osteoporosis; improving mood, memory, and PMS symptoms; and maintaining healthy hair. If you suffer from migraines or IBS you may need to avoid eating navy beans, since y...
  • Beans, Pinto
    Pinto beans contain many heart-healthy nutrients that help lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure; reduce your risk of coronary-artery disease and type 2 diabetes; and help you lose weight. Packed with lean protein, soluble fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium, pinto beans are also great for preventing osteoporosis; improving mood, memory, and PMS symptoms; and maintaining healthy hair. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are especially sensitive to beans an...
  • Beans, White
    White beans are a good source of soluble fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and protein, heart-healthy nutrients that help lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure; reduce your risk of coronary-artery disease and type 2 diabetes; and help you lose weight. Since white beans are also a good nondairy source of calcium, they can help maintain strong bones and fight PMS symptoms. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are especially sensitive to beans and experience discomf...
  • Beef, Ground Lean
    Lean ground beef (at least 90 percent lean) is a healthier way to enjoy red meat. Lean beef is lower in saturated fat than ground chuck or high-fat marbled steaks, making it a smarter beef choice for all individuals, but especially people with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis. Lean beef is also a good source of protein, which is a key part of any weight-loss plan (that's because protein helps to fill you up when included as part of meals and snacks). Beef is a good source of iron, z...
  • Beef, Lean
    Fresh lean beef is a good source of protein and iron — which helps boost energy and build strong bones. It's also rich in riboflavin, a B vitamin that many neurologists believe helps combat migraines. For those who want to enjoy red meat but have heart disease or arthritis, lean beef that is low in saturated fat is clearly the beef of choice. Note that if you have gout, red meat can increase the uric acid in your body and exacerbate the condition, so even lean cuts should be eaten in moderation....
  • Beer
    Heavy intake of beer, like other alcoholic beverages, can pack on the pounds (it's called a beer belly for good reason!), increase already high triglycerides, and interfere with sleep. It is best to limit beer and other alcoholic beverages, especially if you are trying to lose weight, have type 2 diabetes or gout, or experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). That said, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and boost HDL (good) choleste...
  • Beets
    Like other nonstarchy vegetables, beets are low in calories and have a high water content and a good amount of fiber, making them a great choice for people who are trying to lose weight or prevent or manage heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Many diabetics avoid beets because they think they're high in sugar, and while they do contain more sugar than most other vegetables, they're still low in calories and perfectly healthy, as long as you account for the carbs in your diet. Beets are a good sour...
  • Black Cod
    Black cod, also known as sablefish, is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation, decrease triglycerides, and may help to lower high blood pressure and raise good cholesterol. Omega-3s may even reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, help maintain healthy skin, and slow memory decline. Find out more about omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Blackberries
    Blackberries are composed of more than 85 percent water along with a hefty dose of fiber, which makes them a great fruit to eat if you're trying to lose weight, lower cholesterol, or manage type 2 diabetes. They are a good source of folate, a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy hair and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and mood disorders. Additionally, blackberries are full of potent antioxidants that can help with arthritis, age-related memory loss, cataracts, and other eyesight...
  • Black-Eyed Peas
    Black-eyed peas, a type of starchy bean, are a very good source of folate, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease, enhance memory, and improve mood. They also contain zinc, a mineral that wards off macular degeneration. IBS sufferers take note: If you have severe diarrhea-predominant IBS, go easy on black-eyed peas and other starchy beans as you may experience discomfort after eating them. Find out more about beans and other healthy legumes.
  • Blueberries
    Blueberries consist of 85 percent water, which makes them a great fruit to eat if you're trying to lose weight. They also contain potent antioxidants that can help with arthritis, age-related memory loss, and cataracts and other eyesight problems. Find out more about berries.
  • Bok Choy
    Bok choy is a cruciferous vegetable that is a good source of calcium, a mineral known to help maintain strong bones and teeth, as well as manage blood pressure and reduce the symptoms of PMS. Bok choy may also help boost memory due to phytochemicals — antioxidants found in all cruciferous vegetables. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are especially sensitive to cruciferous vegetables and experience discomfort after eating them. Read more about cruciferous vegetables.
  • Boysenberries
    Boysenberries are a cross of raspberries, blackberries, and loganberries, and they look like a jumbo version of a blackberry. Boysenberries contain anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants that can help with arthritis and age-related memory loss. Find out more about berries.
  • Bran, Oat
    Bran is the hard outer layer of a grain, which is the part of the whole grain that contains the majority of the fiber. Oat bran is a very good source of soluble fiber, which aids weight loss, helps reduce cholesterol levels, improves blood-sugar control in individuals with diabetes, and helps stabilize mood. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to high-fiber foods like oat bran and experience discomfort after eating them. Learn more about whole grains.
  • Bran, Rice
    Bran is the hard outer layer of a grain, which is the part of the whole grain that contains the majority of the fiber. Rice bran is a good source of soluble fiber, which aids weight loss, helps reduce cholesterol levels, improves blood-sugar control in individuals with diabetes, and helps stabilize mood. Rice bran is gluten-free, but if you have celiac disease, be sure to always check labels. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to high-fiber foods like rice bran and exper...
  • Bran, Wheat
    Bran is the hard outer layer of a grain, which is the part of the whole grain that contains the majority of the fiber. A diet rich in high-fiber foods like wheat bran can aid in weight loss and maintenance and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to high-fiber foods like wheat bran and experience discomfort after eating them. Learn more about whole grains.
  • Brandy
    Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine and is generally consumed straight as an after-dinner drink. Like other alcoholic drinks, brandy can increase already high triglycerides and interfere with sleep. It is best to limit brandy and other alcoholic beverages, especially if you are trying to lose weight, have type 2 diabetes or gout, or experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). That said, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke an...
  • Bread Crumbs, Whole-Wheat
    It is always best to choose whole grains over refined whenever you can, so when cooking with bread crumbs, look for whole-wheat varieties. Whole-wheat bread crumbs are made from whole-wheat bread, which contains the fiber and nutrients of the whole grain. Whole-wheat bread crumbs are not gluten-free and are therefore unsafe for individuals with celiac disease. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to whole grains and other high-fiber foods and experience discomfort after ea...
  • Bread, Whole-Wheat
    Whole-wheat bread is bread made with whole-wheat flour that contains all the fiber and nutrients of the whole grain (unlike refined grains, which have been stripped of many of these nutrients). A high-fiber diet is beneficial for weight loss and reduces the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Whole-wheat bread is a good source of selenium, an antioxidant shown to prevent arthritis and maintain eye and skin health; folate, vitamin B6, and biotin, B vitamins that may help reduce the risk of...
  • Broccoli
    Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that is beneficial for almost all conditions! It contains many nutrients (including soluble fiber, folate, and vitamin B6) that help enhance overall heart health. Because it's high in fiber and low in calories, broccoli can also help you lose weight and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. It's also a good source of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which help maintain healthy eyes, hair, and skin. The calcium and potassium in...
  • Broccoli Rabe
    Broccoli rabe is a cruciferous vegetable that has a nuttier and more bitter taste than regular broccoli. Like broccoli, it is a good source of folate and vitamin B6, nutrients that help enhance overall heart health. Because it's high in fiber and low in calories, broccoli rabe can also help you lose weight and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. Broccoli rabe may also improve your mood, memory, and PMS symptoms. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are especially sensitive to crucife...
  • Broth, Beef
    Beef broth is primarily used as a base for soups, stews, and sauces. Commercial broths can be very high in sodium, which can raise blood pressure, so look for low-sodium varieties, which are readily available. Find out more about beef and pork.
  • Broth, Chicken
    Chicken broth is primarily used as a base for soups, stews, and sauces. Commercial broths can be very high in sodium, which can raise blood pressure, so look for low-sodium varieties, which are readily available. Learn more about eggs and poultry.
  • Brussels Sprouts
    Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable that is beneficial for almost all conditions! Brussels sprouts contain many nutrients (including soluble fiber, folate, and vitamin B6) that help enhance overall heart health. Because they're high in fiber and low in calories, brussels sprouts can also help you lose weight and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. They're also a very good source of antioxidants vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which help prevent arthritis and maintain healthy eyes,...
  • Buckwheat
    Considered a grain, buckwheat (also known as kasha) is actually a fruit seed that is a great gluten-free grain substitute for people who have celiac disease. Like other whole grains, buckwheat is a good source of fiber. A high-fiber diet is beneficial for weight loss and reduces the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to whole grains and other high-fiber foods and experience discomfort after eating them. Learn more about whole gr...
  • Buttermilk
    Buttermilk is often used in baked goods and sometimes as the base of marinades, sauces, or salad dressings. Whole-milk buttermilk is high in calories and saturated fat. Fortunately, most commercial buttermilks are produced from low-fat or nonfat milk and are therefore a smart choice for people watching their weight and overall health. Buttermilk contains tyramine, a common migraine trigger. Read more about dairy.
  • Butternuts
    Butternuts, also known as white walnuts, are a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated and omega-3 fats, nutrients that can improve cardiovascular health, help to manage type 2 diabetes, prevent and manage arthritis, and maintain healthy eyes and skin. Like other nuts, butternuts should be eaten in moderation since they're calorie-dense (stick with just one handful of nuts per day). Nuts may also trigger migraines and IBS in people who are sensitive. Read more about nuts and seeds.