The #1 ranked diet of 2016 is probably not the one your friends are buzzing about at the gym—there’s no 21-day challenge, juice cleansing or saying, “please take this back, I’m only eating Whole30-approved foods.” Instead, a panel of health experts for US News and Report chose the DASH diet—and it has nothing to do with the Kardashians’ boutiques.
The DASH diet was originally designed for people wanting to lower their blood pressure back in the 90s (and like the choker necklace, it’s back!), but it can actually help you lose weight, too. Since this diet has been around for years, it went through a makeover in the 2000s to cut back on its original list of starchy foods or empty carbs that were once approved on the eating plan.
Today, you continue to avoid sweets and red meat, and instead implement fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Basically, you’re following many of the age-old rules your health teacher might have taught you years ago in middle school.
Since the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute created this, it focuses on heart-healthy nutrients like potassium, protein, fiber, and calcium—and luckily there’s no measuring involved with these. Your typical meals throughout the day might include an omelet with veggies and low-fat cheese, a chicken salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread (think unsalted chicken and dijon mustard instead of mayonnaise) and spaghetti squash with meat sauce.
Not quite ready to jump into this? Ease in by adding more veggies and fruit to your diet while implementing a vegetarian meal once or twice a week. Instead of pouring on the salt, start building your spice repertoire to enhance flavor. By cutting back on sodium you’ll reduce water retention, which means you’re less likely to experience bloating (and this helps with high blood pressure).
Like DASH, other diets that made the top of the list also recommend protein, veggies and fruits, like the Mediterranean Diet at #2 (which includes a little bit of red wine!) and the MIND diet as #3.
So while your friends are chatting about their latest juice cleanse or Whole30 eating plan, remember that eating healthy isn’t necessarily a fad and there are some common sense rules you can always apply.
Will you try the top diet of 2016 as we start the New Year? Let us know in the comments!
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