Long touted as one of the world’s healthiest diets, the Mediterranean diet is backed by reputable evidence that this eating pattern protects against heart disease. But what if the foods and flavors of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea simply aren’t familiar or appealing to you? Or perhaps you just want to explore flavors from other parts of the world without abandoning healthful eating.

That’s not a problem, says Josiemer Mattei, an associate professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, whose research focuses on links between nutrition and chronic disease with an emphasis on Latino and Hispanic culture. “You can adapt the basic guidelines of the Mediterranean diet to any cuisine you like. The key is choosing mostly plant-based foods and healthy fat sources that align with the different traditional cultures around the world,” she says. LEARN MORE