- The DASH diet has been named the best diet for the seventh year in a row.
- These DASH cookbooks will help you prepare these healthy meals at home.
This year, the DASH Diet was named U.S. News and World Report's "Best Diet" for the seventh year in a row. The magazine consulted with health experts to rank 38 diets. "To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease," U.S. News said.
The main aim of the DASH Diet (short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is to prevent and lower hypertension, with weight loss happening organically as well. The basis of the plan is to eat meals full of vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy foods, and consume moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts and salt. But that doesn't mean that you're cutting out the less healthy foods cold turkey; you can still eat foods like red meats and desserts, just in very small amounts.
The idea is that nutrients like fiber and potassium, which are rich in good-for-you foods like fruits and vegetables, can help fight high blood pressure. So you should load up those heart-healthy ingredients and avoid as much as possible the unhealthy ones.
It's a solid option for those who don't want to cut out whole food groups in order to shed the pounds and keep their hearts healthy.
The first step is for you (and your doctor) to decide that it's right for your lifestyle and body type. After that, you'll want to invest in some resourceful cookbooks to help make your meals tasty, exciting and healthy.
For those who are starting DASH from scratch, both "The Complete DASH Diet for Beginners: The Essential Guide to Lose Weight and Live Healthy" ($10.20; barnesandnoble.com) and "The DASH Diet Action Plan: Proven to Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Without Medication" ($12.74; amazon.com) are ideal. The former offers 28 days of meal plans at different calorie ranges so you can personalize dishes to your goals. In addition, the book features shopping guides, healthy recipes and practical eating tips for when you're on the move. The latter also showcases some of the same noteworthy tips and recipes, with a practical five-step guide that will center your DASH Diet program. The book also features 75 easy recipes that use no more than five main ingredients to simplify your cooking process.
For those looking for a more niche approach to the DASH Diet, there's "DASH Done Slow: The DASH Diet Slow Cooker Cookbook" ($9.55; barnesandnoble.com). This anthology of recipes features fuss-free recipes that utilize an at-home slow cooker and 10 or fewer ingredients for meals that take under 15 minutes of prep time to make.
These cookbooks make it clear that on the DASH Diet, you'll get healthy meals that are flavorful and filling. Dieting never tasted so good.
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