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Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan

Ready to switch to a more heart-healthy diet? Here’s how to get started with the Mediterranean diet.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you’re looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you.

The Mediterranean diet blends the basics of healthy eating with the traditional flavors and cooking methods of the Mediterranean.

Why the Mediterranean diet?

Interest in the Mediterranean diet began in the 1960s with the observation that coronary heart disease caused fewer deaths in Mediterranean countries, such as Greece and Italy, than in the U.S. and northern Europe. Subsequent studies found that the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthy eating plans recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to promote health and prevent chronic disease.

It is also recognized by the World Health Organization as a healthy and sustainable dietary pattern and as an intangible cultural asset by the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.