It’s no secret that what we eat directly affects our heart health. As evidence continues to emerge about the link between food and heart health, it becomes increasingly important to be aware of the foods that are best for our hearts. One such diet renowned for its heart-healthy benefits is the DASH diet, ranked as the #1 heart-healthy diet in 2023. Let’s take a closer look at why this diet benefits our cardiovascular system.
What Is The DASH Diet?
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was developed by a team of nutritionists in 1997 to lower blood pressure naturally, without relying on medications. It is very similar to the Mediterranean diet, with both diets focused on eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and processed and fried foods. There are also some restrictions on sodium intake with the DASH diet since it was designed to help lower blood pressure.
How Easy Is The DASH Diet To Implement?
Since the DASH diet focuses on healthier, whole foods rather than specific macronutrients or caloric goals, it can be relatively easy to implement into your lifestyle. The US News & World Report rated the DASH Diet as the #3 easiest diet to follow for 2023 due to its focus on real food choices instead of counting calories or macros like other popular diets. You should expect to eat 2-3 cups of vegetables per day, 2-2.5 cups of fruits per day, and at least 3 servings of whole grains. You should also limit your intake of saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugars as much as possible while minimizing processed and fried foods.
What Are Some Benefits Of Following The Dash Diet?
The primary benefit of following the DASH diet is improved cardiovascular health due to its emphasis on reducing salt intake and increasing consumption of nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and moderate intake of lean meats/fish/poultry, beans, nuts/seeds, low-fat dairy products, and healthy oils like olive oil or avocado oil.
What makes these foods heart-healthy is their plethora of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients can help reduce inflammation in the body, lower cholesterol, and improve blood vessel health, leading to improved heart health.
Unlike other diets, this one offers substantial benefits beyond just improved heart health—making it an ideal option for individuals looking to improve their overall health.
All in all, by focusing on eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting sodium intake, you can reduce your risk of hypertension and other chronic conditions associated with poor cardiovascular health. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your overall heart health through simple dietary changes that won’t overcomplicate your meals, consider giving the DASH Diet a try.