RALEIGH — A new study says it is OK to eat your way to better health.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the Mediterranean diet can significantly cut your risk of heart disease. It is lunch time at Rex Hospital's cafeteria, and on Tuesday's menu are foods that are part of the so-called Mediterranean diet.
“We like to use our olive oil as a finishing. Finishing to fish dishes, lots of fresh vegetables, items with nuts,” said Executive Chef at Rex Hospital Ryan Conklin.
It's a variety of options including lean meats, fish, and fruit that all lead to a healthier heart.
“We like to see good results from the changes in the way they eat,” said dietitian at Rex Hospital Lisa Kirchner.
Studies show the foods that are rich in olive oil and vegetables are all part of the Mediterranean diet and can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 30 percent.
Doctors say protecting your heart early on can lead to lasing benefits down the road.
"The key is that we're able to lead a healthier life; not as many medical complications, medical diseases, hospital bills, or even surgeries," said cardiologist at Rex Hospital Dr. Ben Walker.
Even though people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or a strong family history can be prone to heart disease, doctors say the diet paired with regular exercise can help reduce their risk as well.