Chances are you have heard of both the DASH and Mediterranean or Med diet. Research show both eating plans offer health benefits. They have much more in common than differences. And most importantly, since its Heart Health month, they both are excellent for the cardiovascular system. Depending on how you eat and what your goals are, one may make more sense than the other.
DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (high blood pressure) and the focus of the diet’s recommendation is choosing low fat proteins and dairy and increasing veggies, fruit and whole grains. The DASH diet has specific serving recommendations, so for some people the concrete aspect may be more helpful. With 4+ servings of fruit and veggie recommendations a day, it may also be a big change. But this is exactly what confers such amazing benefits and what helps lower blood pressure.
The Med Diet developed out of research starting in the 1950’s on lifestyle and diet choices that lower heart disease risk. Comparing the diets across a variety of countries in Europe to others, including the US, showed that some unique characteristics in the Med region led to reduced risk. Similar to DASH, emphasis is placed on having fruits and vegetables as a basis of daily eating, along with whole grains and other plant foods, but specific recommendation to include olive oil daily and eat a healthy seafood choice twice a week are unique to the Med diet.
If you would like to learn more about these two healthy ways of eating, join us for a special Heart Month class designed to help you put these two diets into practice.