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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Diet, lifestyle play role in preventing cancer

What is cancer?

Cancer can be many forms and occur at various places in the body, but all cancers share certain properties.

Healthy cells in the human body grow, divide and die in a predictable and orderly manner. However, cancer cells reproduce in an uncontrolled way and may not age or die normally.(more...)

Don't overlook importance of breast-feeding 

Millions of us owe our early development in part to Gail Borden's invention of evaporating milk and the resulting famous concoction that was our sole food for the first months of life:
  • One can (13 fluid ounces) of evaporated cow's milk, 19 fluid ounces of water and 2 tablespoons of corn syrup.
If we survived this simplistic approach to infant nutrition, then why should we consider breast-feeding to be important? (more...) 

Research to Help Shape Dietary Guidelines

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasize a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. While the message on fruits and vegetables is probably not new, you may be curious about the importance of whole grains and low-fat dairy. (more...)

Folic Acid Helps Fight Disease

About a year ago I wrote on how the intake of folate relates inversely to the production in your body of homocysteine, a compound associated with increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Although folate is important in fighting such diseases, it is most commonly associated with preventing neural tube defects in newborns. In fact, in 1998 it became law to fortify cereal-grain products with folic acid (the synthetic version of folate) in hopes of decreasing the risk that women will have children with neural tube defects. Also at that time, the Institute of Medicine recommended that women capable of becoming pregnant consume enough folate through supplements, fortified foods, or both in addition to consuming food folate to achieve the recommended daily allowance of 400 micrograms. (more...)

Fructose Consumption and Health

Obesity and Type 2 diabetes occur in the United States at alarming rates. Many nutritionists and health care professionals are convinced that these conditions are caused in large part by recent changes in our diet and to reduced physical activity.(more...)

Local Coalition Provides a Wealth of Health Advice

You've most likely heard about the recent public health recommendations to increase levels of physical activity and to improve dietary choices to meet the recommended dietary allowances. Perhaps you've been wondering where to go to get information to improve your exercise and eating habits.(more...)

Copper - A Building Block for a Healthy Baby

Proper nutrition during pregnancy cannot be overstated because it provides building blocks for the developing fetus, fulfills maternal energy requirements, and increases energy reserves needed for lactation. Recommendations for good prenatal nutrition traditionally have addressed weight gain and nutrient intake during pregnancy. Although calorie requirements increase during pregnancy, a woman's body adapts to the increase in requirements and becomes more efficient. This means that only a small increase of about 300 calories a day is needed to meet energy requirements.(more...)

The Point of the New Pyramid

While an abundance of nutrition information is available online and from the popular press, it's important to base diet and exercise choices on science-based information provided by authoritative sources. A one-size-fits-all approach does not answer the question many consumers have been asking, which is: "How will this work for me?"(more...)

Spillin' the Beans on Good Nutrition

Dry beans are good for your health! The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating at least three cups of cooked dry beans per week. One cup of beans per day will give you a high percentage of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for protein, copper, zinc, iron, potassium, and the vitamin folate. One cup of beans also contains high fiber, good carbohydrates, very low fat, and only about 250 calories.(more...)

Fish for Health

Many people are surprised when told that it is not a vitamin or mineral but two fatty substances that may have the most far-reaching health benefits when consumed in higher than usual amounts in U.S. diet. The substances are omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexanoic acid or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA. These polyunsaturated fatty acids with a long carbon chain backbone are high in certain fish oils and thus often are found in supplements as fish oil. Claims have been made of the benefits of DHA and EPA based on a large amount of carefully done scientific studies, unlike claims for many herbal supplements.(more...)

Cold Weather and Nutrition

Those of us who live in the Upper Midwest know that soldiers, athletes and arctic explorers are not the only ones who must survive and function in extremely cold temperatures. Extreme temperatures, hot and cold, affect not only level of comfort, but also health and ability to perform physical and mental work, and mood. Many studies have documented declines in physical performance and in cognitive skills, such as attention, memory and problem solving, when volunteers are exposed to cold temperatures, even for relatively brief periods of time.(more...)

Two Simple Messages for Heart Health

Diseases of the heart and circulation are the leading cause of death in this country, with an annual economic impact approaching $200 billion. The types of disease include arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clotting tendency, abnormal heart rhythm, and coronary heart disease. Ultimately, all of these conditions will have an impact on the ability of our hearts to deliver blood to our bodies. What can we do to prevent or reduce the impact of these diseases?(more...)


Last Modified: 9/21/2010