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Review

Defining a Healthy Diet: Evidence for the Role of Contemporary Dietary Patterns in Health and Disease

by 1,2,* and 3,4
1
Laboratory of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition, Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy
2
Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Service, Unit of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, ICS Maugeri IRCCS, 27100 Pavia, Italy
3
Human Development and Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
4
NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020334
Received: 20 December 2019 / Revised: 22 January 2020 / Accepted: 26 January 2020 / Published: 27 January 2020
The definition of what constitutes a healthy diet is continually shifting to reflect the evolving understanding of the roles that different foods, essential nutrients, and other food components play in health and disease. A large and growing body of evidence supports that intake of certain types of nutrients, specific food groups, or overarching dietary patterns positively influences health and promotes the prevention of common non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Greater consumption of health-promoting foods and limited intake of unhealthier options are intrinsic to the eating habits of certain regional diets such as the Mediterranean diet or have been constructed as part of dietary patterns designed to reduce disease risk, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diets. In comparison with a more traditional Western diet, these healthier alternatives are higher in plant-based foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts and lower in animal-based foods, particularly fatty and processed meats. To better understand the current concept of a “healthy diet,” this review describes the features and supporting clinical and epidemiologic data for diets that have been shown to prevent disease and/or positively influence health. In total, evidence from epidemiological studies and clinical trials indicates that these types of dietary patterns reduce risks of NCDs including cardiovascular disease and cancer. View Full-Text
Keywords: healthy dietary patterns; non-communicable diseases; macronutrients; micronutrients; non-essential nutrients; plant-based diets healthy dietary patterns; non-communicable diseases; macronutrients; micronutrients; non-essential nutrients; plant-based diets
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cena, H.; Calder, P.C. Defining a Healthy Diet: Evidence for the Role of Contemporary Dietary Patterns in Health and Disease. Nutrients 2020, 12, 334. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020334

AMA Style

Cena H, Calder PC. Defining a Healthy Diet: Evidence for the Role of Contemporary Dietary Patterns in Health and Disease. Nutrients. 2020; 12(2):334. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020334

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cena, Hellas; Calder, Philip C. 2020. "Defining a Healthy Diet: Evidence for the Role of Contemporary Dietary Patterns in Health and Disease" Nutrients 12, no. 2: 334. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020334

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