Harvard Women's Health Watch

Why the Mediterranean diet is so good for your heart

Easy steps to help you make the switch to this heart-healthy eating plan.

Are you sick of cutting carbs and counting calories? Then you might be happy to know that one of the best diets—especially for protecting your heart—is the Mediterranean eating plan. Heavy on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, and olive oil, this diet emphasizes smarter food choices, not deprivation.

A study published this February in The New England Journal of Medicine found the Mediterranean diet such a potent heart protector that it reduced the risk for heart disease, strokes, and deaths from heart disease 30% compared with a regular low-fat diet. A key component to this cardioprotection is replacing saturated and trans fats—which can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease—with mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol levels.

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