Think of a heart healthy diet, and I bet the Mediterranean Diet comes to mind. Its popularity comes from the foods that were once typically eaten in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Looking back at the data collected from the 1950s-1960s, we see that the Mediterranean Diet was based largely on whole plant foods, with the emphasis on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, whole grains and breads. Olive oil, fish and wine were an additional component to this diet. Highly processed foods and unhealthy hydrogenated and saturated fats such as butter and coconut oil were avoided as well as salt and sweets. Eggs, meat, and dairy were eaten in limited amounts. Exercise was also an important constituent of the Mediterranean diet. Americans looking for a "heart healthy" diet believe they are consuming the Mediterraniean diet by pouring olive oil on their food and adding a glass of wine to their meals.