Video: Follow the rainbow to healthy holiday eating

With spinach pesto dip recipe: Serve with colorful fruits & veggies for party fare

When your next holiday soirée rolls around, think “rainbow” when filling your plate for healthy holiday eating. It’ll help you make healthy selections packed with phytonutrients.

Phytonutrients, found in fruits and vegetables, help reduce our risk for heart disease, stroke and certain cancers by lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose.

According to Joyce Patterson, University of Michigan clinical dietitian, the best way to get the benefits of phytonutrients is to eat fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors— at least five different colors every day.

Continue reading

Video: Clearing up the carb confusion

Which carbohydrates are good for you and which should you avoid?

Are you getting mixed messages about which carbohydrates you should be eating and suffering from “carb confusion”? According to University of Michigan Registered Dietitian Susan Ryskamp, high-quality carbohydrates — such as fruit, dairy products, starchy vegetables and beans — are essential for good health. They provide fiber, energy and a host of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that you can’t get from a supplement.

Unhealthy carbs should be avoided. These are found in such foods as white rice, white bread and white pasta, which are made from grains that have been stripped of their fiber and other nutrients. Sugary beverages and foods like cakes, ice cream and cookies are unhealthy carbs that tend to be high in calories and low in nutrition.

The bottom line?

  • Choose foods that are low in sugar and white flower — they contribute to fluctuations in blood sugar and to weight gain.
  • Choose whole wheat flour over white flour products, and fresh fruit over fruit juice.
  • Choose whole grains like oats, barley, quinoa and brown and wild rice.
  • Fiber from oats, barley, beans and certain fruits and veggies can help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar.
  • Carbohydrates in beans and lentils are a great source of fiber and protein.

The key is choosing healthy carbohydrate options for better health!

University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Logo - blueThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the top ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at



Video: Healthy fats pack lots of nutrition

Watch your portions--healthy fats high in calories too

Fats are essential in our diet. They help us feel satisfied with our meals and add flavor to our foods. Consuming certain fats as part of a balanced diet can actually help lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugars and reduce inflammation.

Sarah Meyers, a University of Michigan registered dietitian, describes the types of healthy fats that provide these important health benefits, including:

  • Monounsaturated fats: Found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, avocados, olives, nut butters and nuts (including almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and cashews).
  • Polyunsaturated fats: Found in soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, certain seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and flax) as well as in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines), soymilk and tofu.
  • Omega 3 fats (a type of polyunsaturated fat): Found in fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines, or in high-quality cold-water fish oil supplements, as well as in walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil.

Although all these fats are healthy for the heart, Meyers warns that they are also high in calories, so be mindful of your portions.


University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Logo - blueThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the top ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at


Video: Heart-healthy grocery shopping

Shop the perimeter of the store for the healthiest food selections

Each trip to the grocery store is an opportunity to discover ingredients for heart-healthy meals. Joyce Patterson, University of Michigan clinical dietitian, says the healthiest selections can be found around the perimeter of the store. “Here, you’ll find whole foods that are naturally full of heart-healthy nutrients.”

Continue reading

Risk factors shouldn’t guide decisions about HPV vaccine

About 12,700 new cases of invasive cervical cancer are diagnosed annually, and about 4,300 women will die from it, according to the American Cancer Society. However, a vaccine can help younger women prevent it. Watch the video above to learn why the vaccine should be administered to all eligible women, regardless of risk factors.

Visit for more resources on cervical cancer.

What you need to know about cancer screening

Between 3% and 35% of cancer deaths could be avoided through screening. The risk of developing many types of cancer can be reduced by practicing healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and not smoking. But if cancer develops, it’s best to catch it early: The sooner a cancer is found and treated, the better the chances are that treatment will be successful. Learn more about how you should be screened for cancer at