Courtesy of Community Health Center of Buffalo

Diet and exercise are key components of maintaining a healthy weight and protection from chronic disease. According to Dr. Kenyani Davis, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, at the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc., eating smart and being active have similar effects, including reducing risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers, and diabetes. “These healthy living strategies can also help improve overall well-being – helping people live longer and maintain their independence,” says Dr. Davis.

People may wonder which diet is best. It can be confusing when navigating all of the options, and there is no magic formula to eating better. Dr. Davis urges that individuals consider these strategies to live healthier.

Eat colorful, varied, nutritionally dense foods. Medical News Today says each meal should be 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% whole grains, and 25% protein. Select an array of colorful foods that provide most of the nutrients needed.

Choose fiber-rich foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes are good sources of fiber. Fiber helps people maintain digestive health and can help you feel fuller longer, reducing the potential for overeating.

Note how you feel after eating. Create a food journal where you jot down notes about how you feel after eating certain foods. If you notice certain foods or ingredients trigger adverse reactions, you may try avoiding that type of food and choose an alternative. For example, stomach upset or bloating after eating dairy may indicate lactose intolerance.

Explore the Mediterranean diet. While you should avoid fad diets that often produce short-term but unsustainable results, a Mediterranean diet has stood the test of time. According to a new study published in JAMA Network Open in October 2023, middle-aged and older adults with overweight or obesity and metabolic syndrome lost visceral fat (belly fat) and showed a greater reduction in percentage of total fat while on a Mediterranean diet. They also had delayed loss of lean body mass, which often comes with aging. Mediterranean diets prioritize legumes, seafood, vegetables, and “good” fats like olive oil.

Control portion sizes. Sometimes it’s not what you eat but how much you eat that affects health. Weighing and measuring food can help control portions and how many calories you’re consuming each day. The National Institutes of Health says eating plans that favor 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day for women and 1,500 to 1,800 for men are good targets to lose weight at a healthy pace when combined with moderate exercise.

Balanced eating is a major component of a healthy lifestyle. While there are many fad diets, eating plans with a proven track record supported by the medical community may be your best bet. Learn more about nutrition and other services provided by the Community Health Center of Buffalo at, or call 716-986-9199 where all insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid are accepted. With locations in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Cheektowaga, and Lockport, all patients receive care, regardless of their ability to pay.