“The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are consistently ranked as the most heart-beneficial diet and the best healthy diet among a total of 40 dietary methods evaluation according to the latest Annual Diet of the World report
DASH, short for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,"
advocates increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy products and lean protein, while reducing intake of fat, sweets, red meat and sugary drinks.
It’s designed to prevent and reduce hypertension by dietary habit. DASH diet is created by the National Heart Institute of Cardiology (NHLBI). This is the eighth consecutive year for DASH diet to be awarded the best diet.
Janet de Jesus, registered dietitian of NHLBI, noted: "The high ranking of DASH over the years shows people's recognition and acceptance of the diet, from health management experts to the general population." "The good news is that the latest research confirmed that low-sodium diet combined with the DASH diet, can significantly lower blood pressure. "
The Mediterranean diet
is one of the healthy dietary structures under global recognition. It aims to have a positive impact on weight control, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health, cancer prevention and the prevention and control of diabetes.
Mediterranean diets feature more intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil, fish and seafood, as well as moderate intake of poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt. Sweets and red meat are limited here.
Any recent advances in the DASH and the Mediterranean diet?
❖ DASH combined with low sodium diet may be more effective than antihypertensive drugs.
Recently, NHLBI researchers conducted a clinical trial of more than 400 prehypertensive or hypertension of stage Ⅰ in adults. And it turned out that a combination of DASH and low-sodium diet significantly reduced subjects' systolic blood pressure. And the higher the blood pressure is, the greater the decrease is.
Experts in Johns Hopkins University also confirmed this observation that hypertensive patients who strictly follow the DASH diet enjoy a comparable antihypertensive effect as those taking antihypertensive drugs. The result indicates that DASH diet works positively on patients with hypertension, which may be more effective than taking drugs.
❖ Mediterranean diet can improve the cognitive function of the elderly.
In August 2017, a study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
evaluated dietary information of a total of 5,987 elderly people.
The researchers compared the information with participants' psychic abilities, mainly in terms of their memory and attention skills, and found that those with Mediterranean diet, MIND diet, and DASH diet scored higher in cognitive function tests than those without.
The results showed that the Mediterranean diet reduced the score of cognitive risk tests by 35%. The risk can be reduced by 15%, even with a lower obedience of the Mediterranean diet. The result shows similarly in the MIND diet.
The researchers pointed out these healthy diets are often rich in anti-oxidant vitamins, minerals and other heart-beneficial bioactive compounds, which in turn would benefit the brain, especially during aging. The Mediterranean diet has also proved to take on anti-inflammatory effects and may also be beneficial to brain health in the long term.
❖ Mediterranean diet and virgin olive oil can improve high-density lipoprotein.
In February 2017, a study published in the Circulation
said, a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil would improve the function of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), compared to other diets.
The study included 296 participants who were divided into three groups at random by the researchers.
Group 1 took a Mediterranean diet containing virgin olive oil, and group 2 consumed a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in nuts while group 3 conducted a low-fat diet as a contrast. Researchers took their blood samples both at the beginning of the study and one year later.
The outcome manifested that although the Mediterranean diet did not significantly increase HDL levels, it did improve HDL function.
In a word, Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil can significantly improve HDL function.
❖ Sodium, coconut oil and sugar intake increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
A report released in 2017 at the AHA shows excessive intake of sodium, coconut oil and sugar can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).