A bunch of green kale

It seems that more and more these days, the dangers we face as consumers are playing out in ways we can't physically see, from online threats to our personal data to what the rise of smart household products will mean for our privacy. So it's no surprise that one of the major topics on consumers' minds today is the integrity of our food system—another part of daily life that can be difficult for us to assess on our own. Of course, what we eat is one of the most important and personal choices we make every day. That's why this month and in upcoming issues, we'll be working hard to answer your most pressing questions about the health and safety of our food with new testing, investigating, and analysis. It's also why, earlier this year, we led the call for consumers to avoid romaine lettuce after it became clear that it was the likely source of two deadly E. coli outbreaks, and pressed the government to do more to protect us in the future.

As we beef up our food coverage, we're starting with the power of decision-making. Smart choices hold the promise to improve our quality of life across the board by lowering our risk of chronic illnesses, strengthening our hearts, and slowing cognitive decline as we age, yet many of us still shy away from packing our plates with the best ingredients. We're sharing expert tips on how to shop organic without emptying your wallet, along with food-preparation ideas for how any of us can learn to love superpowered foods such as kale. And because even a perfect nutrition regime can't guarantee perfect health, we're also offering guidance on how to avoid unexpected medical bills if you do get sick—because a visit to the doctor should be all about restoring your health, not worrying about being gouged by confusing charges. Ultimately, being well is all about making smart choices, whether in the produce aisle or at the doctor's office—and at CR, smart choices are what we're all about, too.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the September 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.