Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
New York City, NY, United States (4E) – The healthiest diets in the USA are the half-century-old Mediterranean Diet that emphasizes the consumption of vegetables, fish and wine, and the newer DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which is used to help lower high-blood pressure.
Forty diets were evaluated by the US News and World Report with input from a panel of health experts in the search for the healthiest diets in the country.
The Mediterranean diet was ranked first on the list of the “Best Diets Overall” by the US News and World Report. It was the easiest diet to follow; the Best Plant-Based Diets and the Best Diets for Diabetes. It came in second for Best Heart-Healthy Diets, behind DASH.
On the other hand, DASH was ranked number one in Best Heart-Healthy Diets; number one is Best Diets for Healthy Eating; number two in Best Diabetes Diets; number four in Easiest Diets to Follow and number six in Best Weight-Loss Diets.
This was the first time the Mediterranean diet moved into first place. DASH held the top spot for eight straight years.
Both the DASH and Mediterranean diets offer guiding principles for eating, like eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, fish, legumes, nuts and low-fat dairy foods.
DASH is often recommended to lower blood pressure. It recommends eating more veggies, fruits and low-fat dairy foods while greatly reducing foods high in saturated fat and limiting salt intake.
Its meal plan includes three whole-grain products each day. It also recommends four to six servings of fruit; four to six servings of vegetables; two to four servings of dairy products and several servings each of lean meats and nuts/seeds/legumes.
Studies have shown that following this diet can reduce blood pressure in a matter of weeks.
The Mediterranean Diet has been linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart, a lower risk of dementia and breast cancer, and longer life. It’s also been linked to a reduced risk for diabetes and high blood pressure.
The diet emphasizes simple, plant-based cooking. The majority of each meal focused on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds, with a few nuts and a heavy emphasis on extra virgin olive oil.
Meals may include eggs, dairy and poultry, but in much smaller portions than in the traditional Western diet. Fish is a staple, and a glass of wine with dinner is optional.
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