Health Buzz: Americans Confused About Wine, Salt

6 ways to trick yourself into eating fruits and veggies; 8 foods to help you lose weight.

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Survey: Americans Ill-Informed About Wine, Salt Nutrition

Wine and salt confuse most Americans—at least when it comes to their roles in nutrition. The American Heart Association surveyed 1,000 adults, and found that 61 percent falsely believe sea salt is a low-sodium version of table salt. Nearly half incorrectly assumed that table salt is the primary source of sodium in their daily diet, when in fact, processed foods, soups, and canned foods account for 75 percent. And while 70 percent of Americans say drinking red wine is good for the heart, only 30 percent know the recommended limits. The AHA suggests men should stick to two drinks per day and women to one. Drinking too much of any type of alcohol can increase blood pressure, potentially leading to heart failure, stroke, and obesity. The survey did, however, yield one encouraging finding: Nearly 60 percent of Americans know their blood pressure numbers, so they can work on improving them if they're too high.

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  • 6 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Eating Fruits and Veggies

    Some people wrongly assume they don't like asparagus or cauliflower, when in fact they don't like the way those foods are often prepared. Many vegetables, among them green beans, carrots, and sweet potatoes, become family favorites when drizzled with a little olive oil and roasted in the oven. And fruits and vegetables can disappear if tucked into dishes the right way. Here are a few tricks from dieticians to get more produce into meals:

    1. Use them in sauces, chili, soups, and casseroles. They're great at camouflaging zucchini, squash, carrots, or corn. Grate and sauté them or pulse them in a food processor until they're smooth. But they don't have to be hidden to taste good. Pasta sauces or toppings on meat dishes are other veggie vehicles. Grab a can of butternut squash soup and cook gnocchi in it—it's "super yummy," says Andrea Giancoli, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Smother your chicken in ratatouille—an assortment of seasoned, sautéed veggies—or top sea bass with tomatoes, capers, and olives or perhaps a mango salsa.

    2. Bake them into muffins, breads, and pies. Yes, you can enjoy pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving relatively guilt-free, so long as it's not topped with a huge dollop of Cool Whip. Carrot cake, zucchini bread, and banana muffins are a few more possibilities. Many recipes call for applesauce instead of all or some of the butter or oil, and it brings just as much moistness. "It can definitely be an awesome way to get your more nutritious substitutes to replacing high-oil, high-fat baked goods," says Sarah Krieger, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. [Read more: 6 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Eating Fruits and Veggies.]

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    • Use These 8 Foods to Help You Lose Weight

      We all know the basic nutrition rules when it comes to safeguarding our health and losing weight. In the words of best-selling nutrition writer Michael Pollan, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Sounds simple, but if you're interested in maximizing the amount of nutrients you get, you may want to be a little choosy when selecting among various options in each food group. Some fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products stand out as nutritional superstars, according to the latest research. And they're also easy on the calorie count to help you shed pounds, fitness blogger Ryan Sullivan writes for U.S. News. Consider incorporating these foods into your daily meal plan:

      1. Watermelon. It's not only delicious, but packs a wallop of antioxidants like vitamins A and C. It also contains lycopene, a plant chemical found in studies to lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and age-related vision loss due to macular degeneration. Just as gratifying: One cup of cubed watermelon contains less than 50 calories, not too damaging for your waistline.