As 2022 comes to a close, Well is taking a look at our coverage of food and nutrition over the past year and reflecting on what we have learned about eating (and drinking). Here are some of our favorite nuggets of healthy wisdom.
1. Chia seeds deserve a place in your diet.
The superpowered seeds found their way into puddings, pretzels, jams and TikTok trends in 2022 as chia — once again — rose to popularity. Experts say chia seeds have earned their hype: They’re packed with fiber and rich in antioxidants. You can add a tablespoon of seeds to a smoothie or soak them in plant milk to make a snack.
2. You don’t need to throw out all the berries.
A single mold-coated strawberry might look gross, but unless the other berries in the box have visible signs of spores, you can keep them in the fridge — just make sure to double-check that they’re fuzz-free before you eat them.
3. You can feel better about that morning coffee.
Researchers found that people who drank 1.5 to 3.5 cups of coffee per day, even with a teaspoon of sugar, were up to 30 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who didn’t drink coffee — another reason to justify reaching for your first (or second, or third) mug.
4. Natural wine may not actually be better for you.
There’s little research to back up claims that natural wine leads to improved gut health, and a hangover is a hangover whether you’re drinking a natural wine or the conventional stuff.
5. Foods can help hydrate you.
You don’t need to rely solely on water to replenish fluids; your favorite fruits and vegetables are also great sources of hydration. Reach for melons, strawberries, oranges, grapes, cucumber or celery.
6. Limit the amount of processed meats you eat.
The occasional hot dog won’t wreck your health, but processed meats have been linked to cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Plant-based alternatives are a safer bet, but they’re not all equal: Find an option that’s as minimally processed as possible.
7. Make whole grains a staple.
Most Americans aren’t eating enough of them, but you can go against the grain by incorporating these high-fiber foods, like oats or corn, into your diet. A slice of whole wheat bread, a half cup of cooked oatmeal and three cups of popped popcorn, in combination, would satisfy the recommended daily requirement for whole grains.
8. Swap your afternoon tea for matcha.
This bright green tea powder is ubiquitous, and while there isn’t definitive research to show it’s a health food, matcha may have some benefits, including providing abundant antioxidants and plenty of caffeine.
9. Steer clear of sticky snacks.
Dried fruit, candy, gummies — these foods can lodge in your teeth and the spaces between them, allowing sugar to linger in your mouth and fuel bacterial growth. There are, however, some steps you can take to ward off tooth decay, including chewing sugar-free gum and gulping down a sugary drink instead of sipping it throughout the day.