For the seventh year in a row, DASH diet has once again gained the title of best overall diet for healthy eating, diabetes, and heart disease. DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, and was originally created to help individuals lower their blood pressure without the use of medications. Today, the US Department of Agriculture considers it the best diet for an overall healthy lifestyle, and suggests that it can be employed by anyone, not only by those hoping to reduce hypertension.
The diet got its first place prize in a US News & World Report, which ranks 38 of the most popular diets using criteria such as how easy it is to follow, how effective it is for weight loss, how nutritional it is, and how safe it is. Some other popular diets on the list include Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.
Angela Haupt, assisting managing editor for US News & World Report emphasises that what makes DASH so great is that it does not embody a fad diet with unreliable claims, but instead can be used as a lifelong lifestyle improvement.
DASH’s main focus is to lower sodium intake by sticking to fresh produce and lean meats such as fish or poultry. Here is what an average 2,000 calorie a day DASH diet looks like:
- Less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day (ideally staying at 1,500 mg)
- 6-8 servings of grains
- 4-5 servings of veggies and fruit
- 2-3 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy
- 2-3 servings of fats and oils
- 6 or less servings of lean meat, poultry and fish
If transitioning to this diet seems hard at first, DASH claims it is okay to ease into it, eventually making a full transition into a healthy lifestyle which includes adequate exercise as well.