With February’s Heart Health Month upon us, you may start thinking of how you can change your diet to improve your heart health. The beginning of the New Year usually makes us all think about our current status and resolutions are made to start exercising or lose weight. But, usually by this time, the diets have failed miserably and we are back to our same old habits. What if this year, February is the time for change and the first step is adopting a new strategy to the tradition of “dieting.” The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean diets are two plans you just may want to explore.
Become a part of the No. 1 ranked diet
The DASH diet was developed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology and is comprised of:
- Four to five servings of fruits daily
- Four to five servings of vegetables daily
- Two to three servings of low-fat dairy
- Less than 25 percent of dietary intake from fat
This includes leaner meats, such as poultry and fish, and alternative proteins like beans and nuts. These changes have been proven multiple times to show improved control of hypertension and cholesterol while decreasing the risk of developing various cancers, coronary artery disease, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke. The US News and World Report have now ranked the DASH diet as its No. 1 recommended diet for the fourth year in a row not because they are playing favorites but because it actually works!
Explore the Mediterranean by including:
- More fruits
- More vegetables
- Whole grains
- Seeds and nuts
- Lean meats (poultry, limited red meat)
- More fish (get those omega 3s)
- Heart healthy oils, like olive or canola
While there is no exact definition of this diet, multiple studies show a decreased risk in overall mortality in both men and women. Following this diet also leads to a decreased chance of developing neurological disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
So, don’t be just another statistic of cardiac arrest:
- Know your numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose
- Quit and avoid smoking
- Jump start your heart by staying active
- Handle stress…
- See your healthcare provider
- Make a DASH to explore the Mediterranean!