Strike the right balance: Are you eating enough or too much of healthy foods?

Are you eating enough of good-for-you foods to get all their benefits? Or could you be overdoing it with some "healthy" choices? We have the facts on how much you need to reap nutritional rewards.

by Tula Karras

Tea: The flavonoids in this brew help safeguard against heart disease.
The minimum dose: Three cups a week, hot or cold, as long as you steep the leaves in hot water for five minutes to release most of the antioxidants.
Can you overdo it? You'll excrete any excess antioxidants, but beware the caffeine. More than two daily cups may cause jitters or high blood pressure.

Whole grains: They have lots of insoluble fiber, which keeps your digestive system humming and reduces your risk for colon cancer.
The minimum dose: Three servings a day are enough to gain benefits, but the USDA recommends six. A slice of whole-grain bread equals one serving.
Can you overdo it? It would be difficult to eat too much fiber, but increase your intake slowly (over a week) to avoid plumbing problems.

Yogurt: Many yogurts contain probiotics, good bacteria that may strengthen immunity and help reduce abdominal cramping and bloating.
The minimum dose: Eight ounces a day. Be sure the label says contains live and active cultures or lists the specific strains of probiotics.
Can you overdo it? If you're prone to bloating, don't exceed two servings a day-you may be sensitive to milk proteins, says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association in Sarasota, Florida.

Pick berries for their antioxidants, including vitamin C and anthocyanins, which prevent cell damage and may protect against cancer.
The minimum dose: A cup of fresh or frozen berries spread out over the day, as your body can process some antioxidants only in small amounts.
Can you overdo it? It's berry unlikely-not unless all you eat is fruit, in which case your diet would be lacking in other nutrients such as protein.

Soy: It's a great source of lean protein, but scientists disagree about the ability of this much-buzzed-about food to fight cancer and heart disease.
The minimum dose: Zero, until more is known about the health benefits. But one to two servings can help you meet your daily protein needs.
Can you overdo it?
Maybe. Eat 20 grams daily or fewer (4 oz. of tofu is 8 grams). Early data suggests soy may increase breast cancer risk in some women.

Fish: Eating certain fish nets you tons of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower heart disease risk and keep your brain functioning well.
The minimum dose: Three 4-oz. servings of an omega-3-rich fish per week. (Wild salmon is a good choice because it's also low in mercury.)
Can you overdo it? Yes. To avoid megadoses of mercury, stop at 6 oz. of tuna (canned or fresh) per week and skip shark, swordfish and tilefish.

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