A little red wine is in. Red meat is unquestionably out. And the Mediterranean diet is simply golden.

That is the conclusion of a study out of McMaster University that purports to offer the most definitive word yet on the foods that are good for your heart.

The study, which examined almost 60 years worth of existing research on diet and heart disease, attempts to separate the whole wheat from the chaff on foods in a way that doctors and consumers can swallow with confidence, says Dr. Sonia Anand, the study’s senior author. It appeared yesterday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

“It’s the best that we can do yet,” Anand, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Hamilton school, says of the study’s food and heart link findings.

While the study’s list of foods that protect the heart contains few surprises — whole grains and vegetables are good, processed meats are bad — researchers found little evidence to support the claims of some highly touted diets and supplements.

“One area that we did not find overwhelmingly strong evidence for would be the Omega-3 fatty acids,” says Anand. Those coming from fish seem to be heart protective, while those that come from plant sources like walnuts and flaxseed have little in the research to support them.

As well, she says, while vitamin E and C supplements are widely used as heart support systems, there is little evidence that they work that way. There is “moderate” evidence that eating these vitamins in fruits or vegetables has some protective properties, but almost none that they are beneficial in pill form.

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