Calling the DASH diet "balanced," U.S. News ranked it as the top diet on its list of Best Diets for Healthy Eating. The purpose of the DASH diet is to prevent and lower hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
The DASH diet -- formally called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension -- was not created as a weight loss diet, but rather one to control high blood pressure. However, an added benefit of following it is weight loss, particularly if you create your DASH diet with a "calorie deficit."
"Just emphasize the foods you've always been told to eat -- fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy"
What's DASH all about? U.S. News sums it up simply: "Nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber are crucial to fending off or fighting high blood pressure. You don't have to track each one, though. Just emphasize the foods you've always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy), while shunning those we've grown to love (calorie- and fat-laden sweets and red meat). Top it all off by cutting back on salt, and voila!"
However, if that's too simple for you, there's a 64 page guide from The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. NHLBI also offers a six page guide as well.
U.S. News notes that the DASH diet has cardiovascular benefits, has been indicated to help control diabetes by some studies, conforms to accepted dietary guidelines and is easy to follow, provided you can give up your favorite junk food.
From the list of the Best Diets for Healthy Eating, following are the top ten:
- DASH Diet
- TLC Diet
- Mediterranean Diet
- May Clinic Diet
- Volumetrics Diet
- Weight Watchers Diet
- Jenny Craig Diet
- Ornish Diet
- Vegetarian Diet
- Nutrisystem Diet
The DASH diet seems simple enough -- it's basically the way we've always been told to eat, with some minor modifications. It keeps your salt intake in check while ensuring you eat adequate quantities from each of the food groups. In fact, the DASH diet sounds less like a diet and more like a healthy eating plan.
Given the health benefits, would you consider following the DASH diet?