The Best Diet for Heart Health

Metabolic process of woman on diet
Both the Mediterranean and DASH diets have been shown to be good for your heart health and overall well-being. However, they differ in many ways. Find out which one is best for you.

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The Mediterranean Diet

There is no single Mediterranean diet (MD) despite the name. It is a general term that refers to an eating plan that focuses on prepared foods common to Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, Crete, Italy, and Crete. Research links the MD to better cardiovascular health. A study of approximately 26,000 women found that the MD diet reduced the risk of developing heart disease by 25%.

Mediterranean eating habits are based on grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans, lentils, etc.) and very few processed foods. The MD does not advocate a low-fat diet. Olive oil is the main source of added fat. The Mediterranean-style diet minimizes animal food intake, but it does include moderate amounts of eggs and poultry. Red meats such as lamb and beef are very rare, as well as processed meats. The MD includes red wine, but only in small quantities and meals. However, you don’t need to drink wine in order to follow the MD.

Because it is low in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar, the MD is good for your heart. It also contains a lot of fiber. Even though there is no calorie counting, eating can help you lose weight and lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The DASH Diet

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension (higher blood pressure). DASH is a diet that can help lower or prevent hypertension. It may be possible to reduce blood pressure within a week by following the instructions exactly. The DASHeating program also lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This type of cholesterol can block your arteries and cause a stroke or heart attack.

DASH diet focuses on foods high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. This includes grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts, seeds, and dairy products. This diet restricts foods high in sodium, saturated fat, and added sweeteners. The DASH diet, like the MD, is rich in plant foods but also allows for more fat-free and low-fat dairy products, lean poultry, fish, and meat.

Mayonnaise, vegetable oil, salad dressing, and vegetable oil are all included in the plan. The DASH diet does not allow more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, which is about the same amount as a teaspoon of salt. Another version limits sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. This is less than the 3,300-4,300 mg of sodium Americans usually get every day.The DASH diet is well-structured. The DASH diet allows followers to choose the calorie level that will determine how much and what they eat each day. Although the DASH diet doesn’t promote weight loss, some people do lose weight by following it. A healthy weight helps to maintain normal blood pressure and reduces stress on the heart. It also lowers the chance of high glucose levels which can damage blood vessels.

What Diet is Best for Heart Health?

Both the MD and DASH diet plan promotes heart health. It may be down to your personal health history and lifestyle that you choose one or the other.

Because food choices are limited, the DASH plan can require major changes to your eating habits. At least until you are comfortable with proper serving sizes, you will need to weigh and measure your food. Although the MD is more flexible, you will need to monitor how much you eat in order not to gain weight or miss out on any of the plant-based benefits.It doesn’t matter what one you choose; it is always a good idea to replace processed foods with more fresh alternatives and to eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables more often. You will be a blessing to your heart.