US News and World Report released their overall top 20 diets this week. Who would be the winner? Akins, South Beach, or Paleo diet? The winner was the Dash Diet, which received both Best Diet Overall and Best Diabetes Diet. I had never heard of the Dash Diet and started to search around for more information.
The Dash Diet was created by the US National Institutes of Health to lower blood pressure without medication. “The DASH diet is based on the research studies: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and has been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and improve insulin sensitivity. The DASH diet provides more than just the traditional low salt or low sodium diet plans to help lower blood pressure,” as stated on the official Dash website, www.dashdiet.org.
It’s wonderful to see a diet plan that is suggesting ways to lower cholesterol without medication. Personally, I don’t have high cholesterol, but I’m a big believer in natural remedies and don’t like taking medication unless really necessary. After searching around on the internet, I found a basic meal plan for the Dash diet. Each day you should consume 6-12 grains, (at least 3 whole grains), 4-6 vegetables, 4-6 fruits, 2-4 low fat or nonfat dairy foods, 1.5-2.5 lean meats, fish, poultry, 3-6 nuts, seeds, and legumes per week, 2-4 fats and sweets.
At first glance, that’s a lot of fruits and vegetables per day! 12 total. It isn’t anything new though. Eating a predominantly plant-based diet leads to lower cholesterol. Just as eating on the raw foods diet and other whole foods diets. I dug a litter deeper into the Dash diet because naturally, I wanted to find out if they are recommending coconut oil on their approved oils list. I didn’t see a full approved foods list on the website, (you would have to buy the book), but I did find out useful information on other sites like Mayo Clinic and The Oregon Dairy Council. The oils that I saw were olive, canola, and sesame.
Now, the NY Times, which I previously blogged about, recently wrote that the lauric acid in coconut oil increases HDL, the good levels of cholesterol. Some doctors believe that good cholesterol is not just an overall number, but a ratio of good to bad, LDL, levels. That’s why I was surprised to find coconut oil not on the list for the Dash diet. Has anyone tried the Dash diet or bought the book? Is there any mention of coconut oil? I’d be interested to find out their stance on the oil, if they don’t use it or simply overlooked it.
For a full explanation of cholesterol levels and ratios, check out the Harvard Health Publication.
For the top 20 diets ranked by US News and World report, click here.