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  1. Sparling, Marilyn C. MPH, RD, LDN, CDE
  2. Anderson, John J.B. PhD


Evidence continues to accumulate for the cardiovascular benefits of adherence to a traditional Mediterranean-style dietary pattern. Certain foods and nutrients are identified as being common to this pattern, and the significant health benefits seem to result from the combination of these foods and nutrients in a whole-diet approach. Translating this general dietary pattern into more specific recommendations is crucial if consumers are to incorporate this type of diet into their usual lifestyle and be able to reap the benefits of reduced cardiovascular disease risk.


This article examines each of the foods and nutrients commonly found in the traditional Mediterranean diet and cites scientific evidence that supports their unique contributions to cardiovascular health. Based on this evidence, recommendations by the American Heart Association and other organizations for appropriate amounts of these foods and nutrients to consume are presented, along with suggestions for selecting and using these foods in a heart-healthy dietary plan