Harvard Heart Letter

Developing healthful eating habits is not so hard

Fresh fruits and veggies are satisfying mainstays.

Dietary changes require time and effort, but they may not be as hard as you think. Focus on the pleasure of eating what's healthy, and you'll automatically cut down on what's not.

The mainstays of heart-healthy eating are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and non–red-meat sources of protein such as poultry, fish, and beans. Most people can find an array of tasty options among those foods. And what's more convenient than washing an apple or peeling a banana?

You can't go wrong by more or less sticking to a Mediterranean-type diet. Doing so will address multiple health issues, including high blood pressure and blood sugar and cholesterol problems. The Mediterranean eating pattern is plentiful in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and unsaturated (healthy) fat — from olive oil, for example. One serving a day of fish, poultry, or eggs and a small daily helping of cheese or yogurt round out the plan. For more specific advice about amounts, see "How much of the good stuff should you eat?"

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