Over the years, we've been deluged with data and advice on how to prevent heart disease. Fortunately, a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has simplified things.

The authors of the report analyzed over 100 studies to determine which foods and eating strategies are most effective in preventing coronary heart disease. Their findings:

  1. Use unsaturated fats -- especially polyunsaturated fats -- instead of saturated fats and trans fats ("hydrogenated oils"). For example, use plant-based oils such as olive, canola and soy oils instead of butter or margarine in cooking and baking.
  2. Consume more omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils and plant sources.
  3. Eat a diet that's high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

And, of course, following ALL of these steps rather than just one can increase the health benefits.