Fish has about 20 grams of protein in 3 ounces, cooked, as much as meat; fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines, halibut, black cod) also provide omega-3 fats, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other disorders. (Note that it's best to get your omega-3s from fish, not supplements, since recent studies on omega-3 pills have been disappointing.)
"Multigrain" means only that more than one grain is present—and the primary ingredient is usually refined wheat flour. Whole-grain flour contains the bran and the germ, and so is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Refining wheat removes nutrients, and even when it's "enriched" only some are added back. A true whole-grain bread lists only whole grains in the ingredients, not "wheat" or "enriched wheat," which is simply refined (white) flour.
While bananas are an excellent source of potassium, with 420 milligrams, other foods have even more: yogurt, 530 milligrams; orange juice, 500; halibut, 490; broccoli, 460. Also rich in potassium are tomatoes, apricots, spinach, beets, prune juice, potatoes, lentils, soybeans, nuts, and sunflower seeds. A potassium-rich diet helps control blood pressure. The goal is 4,700 milligrams a day.
Free-range chicken is neither more nutritious nor safer from dangerous bacteria (such as Salmonella and Campylobacter) than conventional chicken. All poultry can be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria. "Free range" means only that the birds have access to an outdoor pen, not that they necessarily go outside. And if they do, it may just be a small concrete yard. Some small-scale farmers do raise their chickens on pasture in more humane and eco-friendly ways, but much free-range poultry comes from large factory farms, similar in many ways to regular industrial poultry production.
Sugar is sugar, and no form of it offers significant nutritional advantages. That goes not only for honey, agave nectar, and coconut sugar, but for other healthier-sounding forms of sugar, including molasses, evaporated cane juice, and fruit juice concentrate. So the only reason to substitute one for another is taste. Honey is sweeter than table sugar, for example, while coconut sugar is less sweet and has a more caramel taste.
An eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat/nonfat dairy foods (the DASH diet) has been proven to lower blood pressure—even more so when sodium is also reduced. No one should take a potassium supplement or use a potassium-based salt substitute unless advised to by a doctor, since they can be dangerous for many people, including those with impaired kidney function or diabetes.
Fiber, which improves blood sugar control, lowers cholesterol, and helps prevent constipation, is found only in plant foods.
Milk is fortified with vitamin D and is the major dietary source, with 100 IU per cup. Fatty fish is naturally rich in D; egg yolks and mushrooms contain small amounts (some mushrooms are now being grown to contain additional vitamin D by exposing them to UV light). Orange juice, soy milk, margarine, yogurt, and breakfast cereal may also be fortified. But to get the 800 to 1,000 IU a day we recommend, vitamin D supplements are usually necessary, since it's difficult to get this much from food.