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.

  • Sage
    Sage is an herb with a soft, fuzzy grayish-green leaf and a sweet, yet savory flavor. Fresh or dried sage is great in tomato sauce, soups and stews, and paired with chicken, pork, and fish. Like other herbs, sage adds flavor to food without adding sodium, calories, and fat. Learn more about herbs and spices.
  • Salad Dressing
    There's a whole aisle in supermarkets devoted to salad dressings. The healthiest choices, such as reduced-calorie vinaigrettes, are made with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Others, like cream- and cheese-based dressings, can add a lot of calories and saturated fat to your plate of veggies, which can thwart your weight-loss efforts, increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and worsen migraines. When choosing salad dressings, look for reduced-calorie and reduced-fat versions....
  • Salmon
    Wild, fresh, and canned salmon are ideal sources of heart-healthy 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. Salmon is also one of the best food sources of vitamin D, a key nutrient that helps maintain strong bones and may reduce your risk of hypertension. Smoked salmon, however, is high in sodium, which can raise your b...
  • Salsa
    Salsa is a low-calorie condiment that can replace higher-calorie ones, such as mayonnaise and creamy dressings. One-quarter cup of tomato salsa has only 30 calories, but store-bought versions can be high in sodium, so go easy or make a salt-free recipe at home if you have high blood pressure. If you have IBS, steer clear of spicy salsas, and if you have celiac disease check the label to ensure the salsa is gluten-free. Learn more about condiments, sauces, and flavorings.
  • Salt
    Salt is a seasoning that increases blood pressure in people who are salt sensitive. Although sodium (which is 40 percent of salt) is necessary for the body to function, too much draws excess fluid into the blood, which raises blood pressure and increases bloating and water retention (worsening PMS symptoms). Most adults are advised to limit their sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg per day. Note that some types of salt, such as kosher salt, have coarser grains than table salt, which means that a...
  • Salt Substitute
    If you have high blood pressure and need to be on a sodium-controlled diet, salt substitutes can be a great tool to help you adjust to a low-salt lifestyle. Some salt substitutes use potassium chloride (instead of sodium chloride found in regular salt), which tastes similar to table salt but should not be used if you have kidney problems or are taking certain medications. It is always best to check with your doctor before using these types of salt substitutes. Learn more about herbs and spices.
  • Sardines
    Sardines are a great 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. Canned sardines with bones are also a terrific source of calcium and vitamin D, both of which help keep your bones strong. Find out more about omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Scallops
    Scallops are low in calories and packed with quality protein, making them a good food to enjoy for weight loss or if you are at risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. Scallops also contain selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties that can help manage arthritis and maintain healthy skin, and magnesium, a mineral that may aid in blood-pressure control. Read more about fish and shellfish.
  • Seaweed
    Seaweed is a vegetable that is commonly used in Asian cuisine and is often served as seaweed salad and in sushi. If eaten regularly in large quantities, seaweed is a good source of heart-healthy 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 eyes, and slow memory decline. Folate, an important B...
  • Seeds, Ground Psyllium
    Ground psyllium seeds are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which reduces cholesterol and may help to manage type 2 diabetes. The soluble fiber in psyllium may also reduce symptoms of IBS by promoting regularity; however, it is important to add it to your diet slowly to avoid bloating and discomfort. Psyllium is most often found in the pharmacy as an over-the-counter supplement. Talk to your doctor before taking psyllium fiber supplements to make sure they don't interfere with any medication...
  • Seeds, Pumpkin
    Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral that may help lower blood pressure, promote bone health, and improve PMS symptoms. Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc and vitamin E, nutrients that help maintain healthy eyes, hair, and skin. Because pumpkin seeds are low in carbohydrates and rich in healthy fat, they make a healthy and delicious snack for people with type 2 diabetes looking to manage their blood sugar. Like other seeds, pumpkin seeds should be eaten in moderation since...
  • Seeds, Sesame
    Sesame seeds are often added to breads and crackers and sprinkled on a variety of Asian dishes. Sesame seeds are rich in magnesium, a mineral that may help lower blood pressure, promote bone health, and improve PMS symptoms. Like other seeds, sesame seeds may trigger migraines and IBS in people who are sensitive to nuts and seeds. Read more about nuts and seeds.
  • Seeds, Sunflower
    Sunflower seeds are a good source of heart-healthy fats and fiber, nutrients that can improve cardiovascular health and help manage blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Sunflower seeds also contain zinc and vitamin E, nutrients that help maintain healthy eyes, hair, and skin. Sunflower seeds in the shell are a smart snack option for people who are trying to lose or manage their weight, since removing the shell on each seed will slow down your eating. Like other seeds, sunflower seeds may...
  • Shallots
    Shallots are related to onions and are part of the Allium genus but have a sweeter, milder flavor than onions. Shallots contain antioxidants called flavonoids and phenols and are rich in quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory properties that may help with arthritis and age-related memory loss. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to onions (including shallots) and experience discomfort after eating them. Read more about Allium vegetables.
  • Shellfish
    In general, shellfish is a good source of low-calorie, lean protein, and, depending upon the variety, provides a mix of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and selenium, making shellfish a healthy addition to your diet if you need to lose weight or reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or macular degeneration. The nutrients in shellfish also help keep your hair and skin healthy. Certain shellfish, particularly shrimp, are high in dietary cholesterol, so if you have high cholesterol, speak wit...
  • Sherry
    Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes and is generally enjoyed as an after-dinner drink or used in cooking. Like other alcoholic drinks, sherry can increase already high triglycerides and interfere with sleep. It is best to limit sherry 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 a...
  • Shrimp
    Shrimp is a type of shellfish that is low in calories and packed with quality protein, making it a great food to enjoy for weight loss or if you are at risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. Shrimp also contains selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties that can help prevent and manage arthritis and maintain healthy skin, and vitamin B6, which may reduce symptoms of PMS. Shrimp is high in dietary cholesterol, so if you have high cholesterol, speak with your physician about how...
  • Sole
    Sole is a light, flaky, white-fleshed fish and is a terrific, low-calorie source of lean protein, making it a great food to enjoy for weight loss or if you are at risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. Protein found in sole can also help moderate your mood by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and keeping blood-sugar levels stable. To maintain the health benefits of sole, bake, grill, or roast the fish rather than frying it. (Note: Pacific sole is the most sustainable choice.) R...
  • Sour Cream
    Sour cream is traditionally used as a condiment on certain foods like baked potatoes or served with Mexican food. Whole-milk sour cream is high in calories and saturated fat, which, when eaten in excess, can increase your heart-disease risk and lead to weight gain. Choose fat-free or reduced-fat sour cream to trim calories and fat. Sour cream also contains tyramine, a common migraine trigger, and some people with IBS are sensitive to dairy and may experience discomfort after eating it. Read more...
  • Soup, Miso
    Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup made from miso paste and other ingredients including seaweed, tofu, and scallions. Miso is a seasoning made from fermented soybeans and is generally very high in salt; therefore, if you have high blood pressure it is best to limit consumption of miso soup. If you experience migraine headaches, be aware that miso is a trigger for some people. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to soy foods and experience discomfort after consuming...
  • Soybeans
    Young, green soybeans, also known as edamame, are a very good source of high-quality carbohydrates and lean protein, which makes them a good food to enjoy if you are trying to lose weight or if you are at risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. Soybeans are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and folate, nutrients that help protect against arthritis and memory loss, moderate mood, and maintain healthy eyes, skin, and hair. The calcium, magnesium, and potassium in soybeans help maintain s...
  • Soy Crisps
    Soy crisps are an alternative to potato chips and are generally made from soy flour. Unlike most crunchy snacks, soy crisps offer a good amount of protein, which makes them more filling and substantial. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to soy foods and experience discomfort after consuming them. Learn more about soy foods.
  • Soy Sauce, Reduced-Sodium
    Reduced-sodium soy sauce is a low-calorie condiment (only three calories per teaspoon) that can replace higher-calorie ones, such as mayonnaise and creamy dressings, which means it is good for those trying to lose weight. Although it contains about 40 percent less sodium than regular soy sauce, reduced-sodium soy sauce is still high in sodium, which can raise blood pressure. You may also need to avoid or limit soy sauce if you suffer from migraines or IBS, and if you have celiac disease check th...
  • Spinach
    Spinach is a dark leafy green vegetable and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet! Because it's high in fiber and very low in calories, spinach can help you manage type 2 diabetes and is a terrific addition to any weight loss plan. It's also packed with nutrients — it's a good source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which help maintain healthy eyes, hair, and skin. Spinach contains very high amounts of potassium and vitamin K, two nutrient...
  • Split Peas
    Split peas are a good source of protein, which helps with weight loss and maintenance, management of type 2 diabetes, and mood regulation. Split peas are also rich in potassium, a mineral helpful for managing blood pressure and preventing osteoporosis. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are especially sensitive to split peas and experience discomfort after eating them. Find out more about beans and other healthy legumes.
  • Squash
    There are two classes of squash: Winter squash and summer squash. Acorn and butternut squash are types of winter squash. These starchy vegetables are good sources of potassium, fiber, and the antioxidants beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, and may help prevent heart disease, arthritis, memory loss, and diseases of the eyes. Zucchini and yellow squash are types of summer squash and are less starchy and lower in calories than winter squash. They are good sources of vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxan...
  • Squash, Acorn
    Acorn squash is a type of starchy, winter squash with a dark-green skin and sweet, yellow-orange flesh. Acorn squash provides beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, antioxidants that help maintain skin, hair, and eye health and may help prevent and manage arthritis. Acorn squash is also a good source of potassium, a mineral involved in lowering blood pressure and preserving bone health, and vitamin B6, which helps maintain healthy hair and may help reduce PMS symptoms. Find out more about starchy...
  • Squash, Butternut
    Butternut squash is a type of starchy, winter squash with a pale orange skin and sweet, nutty orange flesh. Butternut squash is a good source of beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, antioxidants that help maintain skin, hair, and eye health and may help prevent and manage arthritis. It also contains potassium, a mineral involved in lowering blood pressure and preserving bone health, and vitamin B6, which helps maintain healthy hair and may help reduce PMS symptoms. Butternut squash can be roast...
  • Squash, Summer
    Like other nonstarchy vegetables, summer squash like zucchini and yellow squash are rich in water and low in calories, making them a great choice for people who are trying to lose weight. They are also a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that keeps skin, hair, and teeth healthy and may help prevent arthritis. Along with vitamin C, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin found in high amounts in some varieties of summer squash, such as zucchini, help protect against cataracts and macular de...
  • Squash, Winter
    Winter squash is a category of starchy vegetables that includes acorn squash, butternut squash, and kabocha. Winter squash is a good source of potassium, vitamin B6, and the antioxidants beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, nutrients that help protect against cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and memory loss, as well as maintain skin, hair, and eye health. Find out more about starchy vegetables.
  • Squash, Yellow
    Yellow squash is a type of summer squash similar to zucchini. Like other nonstarchy vegetables, yellow squash is rich in water and low in calories, making it a great choice for people who are trying to lose weight. It is also a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that keeps skin, hair, and teeth healthy and may help prevent arthritis. Find out more about vegetables.
  • Stanol/Sterol Spread
    Stanol and sterol spreads are heart-healthy spreads containing plant compounds that can lower LDL cholesterol. These spreads taste and cook just like margarine and are meant only for people who have high cholesterol. The recommended amount is two to three tablespoons per day, and The light, soft tub versions of The spreads are best since they are lowest in calories. Find out more about oils and fats.
  • Steak, Lean
    Lean cuts of steak (such as sirloin, tenderloin, flank, top round, bottom round, and eye of round) are lower in saturated fat than marbled steaks, making them a smarter beef choice for all individuals — but especially those with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis. Lean steak is also a good source of protein, which is a key part of any weight-loss plan because protein helps to fill you up. Beef is also a good source of iron, zinc, and riboflavin, all of which help maintain healthy eyes...
  • Steak Sauce
    With only 15 calories per tablespoon, steak sauce is a condiment that can be part of a healthy diet. However, because it's high in sodium, you'll want to go easy if you have high blood pressure. Also, if you suffer from migraines, be aware that steak sauce contains ingredients that may be triggers. Learn more about condiments, sauces, and flavorings.
  • Strawberries
    Strawberries are composed of more than 90 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, strawberries are full of potent antioxidants, including vitamin C and anthocyanins, which can help with arthritis, age-related me...
  • Sugar
    Sugar typically refers to white, granulated sugar, also called sucrose. Sugar intake from sugary foods and sweeteners like granulated sugar cause blood sugar to spike and then tumble, which can result in moodiness and low energy. A diet high in added sugar can also lead to weight gain and promote cavities and tooth decay. Individuals with diabetes should dramatically limit their intake of all sugary foods and caloric sweeteners, including honey. Scientists are currently exploring whether a high-...
  • Sugar, Brown
    Brown sugar is nutritionally equivalent to white sugar; the only difference is the color and softer texture, which is due to the addition of molasses to white table sugar. Sugar intake from sugary foods and sweeteners like brown sugar cause blood sugar to spike and then tumble, which can result in moodiness and low energy. A diet high in added sugar can also lead to weight gain and promote cavities and tooth decay. Individuals with diabetes should dramatically limit their intake of all caloric s...
  • Sugar Substitutes
    Sugar substitutes are reduced-calorie or calorie-free sweeteners used to replace sugar, corn syrup, and other high-calorie sweeteners. Some sugar substitutes are natural, such as stevia, and others are synthetic, such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin. They are many times sweeter than table sugar and are used in sugar-free, diet, or light versions of soda, fruit drinks, yogurt, candy, and other foods in order to reduce their sugar content and calories. Sugar substitutes and products sweeten...
  • Swiss Chard
    Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that tastes somewhat similar to spinach and can be prepared the same way. It is a good source of antioxidants, including vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which help prevent arthritis and maintain healthy eyes, hair, and skin. Swiss chard also contains magnesium and potassium, minerals involved in managing blood pressure and preventing osteoporosis. In addition, magnesium is also helpful for individuals who experience migraines or PMS. Vitam...