With your heart at stake and your life on the line, it is imperative to know what diet program is the best. U.S. News & World Report evaluated 38 popular diet plans and ranked them. They chose the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet as their number one choice, and recently Nutrition Action agreed. They called the OmniHeart diet (a slight variation on the DASH diet) the “healthiest diet to follow if you’re not a vegetarian.”
DASH Diet Background
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute developed the DASH diet to specifically lower blood pressure. It emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; low saturated and trans fats; low sodium; and rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein.
DASH diet guidelines:
- 4-5 servings/day of vegetables
- 4-5 servings/day of fruit
- Up to 6 ounces/day of meat, fish, or poultry
- 2-3 servings/day of low-fat dairy
- 2-3 tablespoons/day of oil
- 4-5 servings/week of nuts, seeds, and beans
- Up to 5 servings/week of sweets
There is evidence from randomized controlled dietary intervention trials that the DASH diet helps to reduce blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. But are these reductions enough to offer significant protection against cardiovascular death?
Why the Nutritarian Diet Wins Over the DASH Diet
In my book, The End of Heart Disease, I devote one entire chapter to comparing my Nutritarian dietary guidelines to a number of diet plans, including the DASH diet, that are typically recommended to patients with heart disease or have risk factors for heart disease.