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The 5 Overall Best Diets For Optimal Nutrition And Health

The 5 Overall Best Diets For Optimal Nutrition And Health

Last Reviewed : 12/10/2020
The 5 Overall Best Diets For Optimal Nutrition And Health

The importance of good nutrition on health cannot be overemphasized. If you don’t eat well, your body is going to be filled with stuff that compromise its ability to fight and prevent diseases.

Strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers are all lifestyle diseases that can be blamed on following an unhealthy diet. So what should you eat?

The following are some of the best diets to follow for optimal nutrition and overall health:

  1. DASH diet

DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. The diet aims to improve heart health without the use of medication. Instead of medication, the diet recommends the consumption of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber.

A healthy cardiovascular system is important for overall health. The blood your heart circulates distributes essential nutrients and oxygen to the rest of your body, including your other vital organs.

The health benefits of the DASH diet however, extend beyond lowering blood pressure. The healthy foods you eat and the good habits you adopt produce a healthy body overall. The diet also helps prevent cancer, osteoporosis, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

The DASH diet plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It also contains less sodium, sweet treats, sugary beverages, fats, and red meats.

  1. Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet promotes brain and heart health and helps prevent and control diabetes and cancer. It also helps with weight loss.

People from countries that dot the coast of the Mediterranean coast have long been considered to be exceptionally healthy, with a low risk of many chronic diseases. The long life span can be attributed to their active lifestyles, better weight management, and low-sugar diets.

The Mediterranean diet recommends adding foods such as vegetables and fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, herbs, spices, fish and other seafood, and extra virgin olive oil.

Meat is to be consumed in moderation, while sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meat, refined grains and oils, and other highly processed foods are to be avoided.

  1. Flexitarian diet

The main aims of this diet are weight loss and maintenance of optimal health. As a benefit of all the healthy eating, people who practice the Flexitarian diet are at a lower risk of developing heart disease and cancer. They also tend to live longer.

Flexitarian is a combination of the words flexible and vegetarian. The term is credited to registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner who used it for the title of her book "The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life."

Jackson Blatner argues you don’t have to remove meat completely from your diet as long as you consume it only occasionally. For your protein requirements, the diet advises looking to alternative sources like tofu, beans, lentils, and peas. Other healthy foods to add to your diet are nuts and seeds, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.

According to Nutrition Review, the Flexitarian diet has benefits for weight loss. People on the diet carry 15% less weight than non-vegetarians. The prevalence of obesity in vegetarians is also low, with an incidence rate of only about 0-6%.

  1. Weight Watchers Diet

As the name suggests, the Weight Watchers diet is designed to help people maintain a healthy weight. It also encourages behaviors that promote healthier living. Overweight people following the diet can expect to lose 2 pounds of excess weight per week.

The principle behind this type of diet is by making healthier choices and behavioral changes you are able to live more healthily. 

The Weight Watchers diet uses a smart point system to discourage people from making the wrong food choices. As long as you are filling your plate with the right foods and you stay under a certain smart point threshold, you can eat whatever you want until you reach your smart points limit.  

Fresh fruits and most vegetables carry zero points so they can be taken in any quantities. Processed foods, on the other hand, carry high points, which means they are to be avoided or taken in small quantities.

  1. MIND Diet

The MIND diet is designed to help prevent loss of brain function and dementia. It is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. Expanded, MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.

While the MIND diet lowers blood pressure and decreases the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, it has noted benefits for brain health. Fruits like berries, which the diet recommends, have been proved to boost brain health.

Practicing the diet isn’t complicated. You need to stay off the foods the diet says to avoid and eat more of the foods it recommends. The ten foods the diet advises to eat are leafy green vegetables, other vegetables, berries, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, fish, beans, poultry, and wine.

The foods you should avoid under the MIND diet are butter and margarine, cheese, red meat, fried food, and pastries and sweets.

A study published in 2015 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the official journal of the Alzheimer’s Association revealed that strict adherence to the MIND diet lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s by 53%, while moderate adherence lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s by 35%. The study concluded that the MIND diet will reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and promote brain health even if moderately followed.

 

References

  1. In Brief: Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH.
  2. Estruch, Ramon et al. Effect of a high-fat Mediterranean diet on body weight and waist circumference: a prespecified secondary outcomes analysis of the PREDIMED randomized controlled trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Volume 4, Issue 8, 666 – 676.
  3. Morris MC, Tangney CC, Wang Y, Sacks FM, Bennett DA, Aggarwal NT. MIND Diet Associated with Reduced Incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s & dementia?: the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. 2015;11(9):1007-1014. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2014.11.009.

 

 

 

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