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The Only Proven Heart-Healthy Diet

The Only Proven Heart-Healthy Diet

By now we know that certain types of food do more for our health than others, but when it comes down to it, a lot of the research we read states that a particular item "may" promote heart health. Researchers sorted through 50 years of studies to weed out the definites from the maybes and discovered that only some diets claiming heart-healthy benefits are supported by strong evidence.

They found that the Mediterranean diet, incorporating plenty of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, whole grains, cheese or yogurt, and fish, legitimately promotes heart health, and diets rich in vegetables and nuts also serve to lower your risk for heart disease. While there's some evidence about the ability for omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, alcohol, vitamins E and C, beta carotene, folate, fruit, and fiber to positively affect heart health, the jury is undecided on whether or not these elements live up to the claims.

While more research needs to be done to qualify those dietary factors as being heart healthy, there is conclusive evidence that diets high in red meat, butter, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products, high-glycemic index foods, and trans-fatty acids are harmful to heart health. If you're concerned about heart health, revising your diet to resemble the typical Mediterranean diet could be a good place to start.


Join The Conversation
Kate-Marie Kate-Marie 8 years
I've always thought the Mediterranean diet sounded like one of the healthiest ways to eat. I'm vegetarian, so my own diet is very similar, sans fish of course, and I don't eat much dairy either. But I'm all for a variety of fresh produce, whole grains, legumes, etc.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Ironically, my diet closely resembles the Mediterranean diet. On a daily basis, I eat homemade hummus, legumes, whole grains (barley, oats, etc), nuts, fruit, steamed chicken, etc. The only exception is yogurt and cheese. I don't eat that. Instead, I have unsweetened soy milk with every meal. I never consciously adapted the Mediterranean diet -- I just ate what tasted good, and what was good for me.
RainyDays RainyDays 8 years
It's also because in Mediterranean regions, meat is not the main course (it's usually considered a side dish). Their lifestyle is generally mostly plant based. It seems the lifestyles that eliminate meat or are focused more on vegetables, grains, and fruits generally are healthier. I eliminated all meat except seafood 3 years ago and I felt so much better. I actually had to go completely vegetarian in the last few months because I realized I am allergic to all seafood now (I kept getting sick after eating fish). There's so much variety still that I really love it.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
mmm, all my favorite things!! yogurt, chickpeas, beans, spinach, kale, berries, fish, almonds, rice, couscous...
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
I love this way of eating. Plus it advocates olive oil, avocados, and red wine!!!!
poptart-princess poptart-princess 8 years
are them scallions in the picture ? i like this diet and i like scallions but i'm just curious... some might not go for it...
cupcakers cupcakers 8 years
I only eat Mediterranean style, it's not a diet really but a sensible healthy way to eat
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 8 years
I am of Greek extraction, so this food has been a staple in my family's house growing up. But being in my 20s with a hectic schedule, I need to return to eating sensibly, and I think the Mediterranean way exemplifies that. And fish is my favorite kind of animal protein.
darc5204 darc5204 8 years
I agree, Spectra, it does "just make sense". I tend to eat a Mediterranean type diet too, because I try to eat healthy and I love fish. It's a balanced group of foods that are satisfying, are supported by science nutritionally, and isn't overly restrictive.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
The more I hear about the Mediterranean diet, the more it just makes sense. Limit your refined carbs, get plenty of fruits and veggies, and eat lots of monounsaturated fats. Seems pretty basic to me...I eat a diet pretty similar to a Mediterranean diet, but I tend to eat more nuts and not quite as much olive oil and fish.
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