If you are looking to improve your health, the DASH diet is the way to go. For the seventh consecutive year, the DASH diet has been ranked as the best overall diet in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual diet ranking.
Unlike better known diets such as Weight Watchers or the Jenny Craig Diet, the DASH diet’s main priority isn’t weight loss—it’s merely an added bonus. Instead, the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, aims to lower high blood pressure and enforce healthy eating patterns.
The eating plan emphasizes the importance of nutrients like protein, potassium and fiber in order to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Meals consist of mostly lean meats, fish and poultry, nuts and beans and whole grains.
So how does the DASH diet work? It’s simple. Based on the diet’s guide, you set a daily calorie intake determined by your age and activity level. Then you follow easy serving size guidelines to help cut down on sodium and fill up on nutrients.
If you are focused more on shedding some pounds, the DASH Diet creators came out with a weight-loss edition in 2012. This diet plan still puts emphasis on lowering high blood pressure, but concentrates on healthy weight loss.
The DASH diet is sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health and was constructed based on health research. In studies, the diet plan has shown to help prevent type 2 Diabetes, heart failure and kidney stones.
If you would like to learn more about the DASH diet you can visit dashdiet.org for more info.
Photo: FotoshopTofs, CC-BY
Jane Snyder is a health intern with Paste and a freelance writer and photojournalist based out of Athens, Georgia.