Harvard Heart Letter

Translating good food into better diets

Four diets forged in clinical trials offer real benefits for the entire cardiovascular system.

Do the basics of healthy eating — more fruits, vegetables, good fats, whole grains, and healthful protein packages, and less of the not-so-good stuff — work for the heart? Indeed they do. A host of studies has shown that each of these elements, by itself, can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar; improve the flexibility of arteries; or protect against heart attack, stroke, and other forms of cardiovascular disease. Put various pieces together and the protective effect is even more powerful.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, don't hesitate to wade right in and fiddle with your diet. After all, this isn't rocket science, and only you know what foods you like, which ones you can't stomach, and what kinds of dietary changes you can realistically make.

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