Mediterranean Diet vs. DASH Diet – Which One Should You Follow?

Are you looking for a new diet plan that won’t just help with weight loss, but in improving your general overall health? At the moment, there are hundreds of popular diets but only 40 fit the criteria to make the list of U.S. News & World Report for the best diets.

But this year, to everyone’s surprise, first place for the Best Diets Overall was tied with the DASH Diet and the Mediterranean Diet, making choosing the best diet a little more difficult. In this article, we will discuss some of the differences between these two diets and narrowing it down so you can choose the best diet for you.

The DASH Diet and the Mediterranean Diet are quite similar in the fact that they both put emphasis on consuming plant based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits with some fish and chicken and occasional lean red meat. But that is where the similarities end.

Mediterranean Diet vs. DASH Diet

Dash Diet

The DASH Diet, which means dietary approaches to stop hypertension, was not designed originally for weight loss but for lowering your sodium intake. The diet teaches you to lower your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day, by choosing to eat fresh vegetables and whole grains and brown rice. This diet helps to reduce hypertension (high blood pressure) and at the same time, lose weight.

Best suited for those who are looking for a safe diet plan that will teach them the principles of healthy eating and trying to lower their sodium levels. Helps dieters to switch from processed and frozen foods to fresh food opinions.

Example of what you should include in your diet on a typical day:

  • 2,300 grams of sodium a day (For example: an average piece of pizza has a whooping 650 grams of sodium)
  • 6 – 8 servings of grains
  • 5 servings of fruits
  • 2 servings of non-fat diary products
  • 2 – 3 servings of protein a day (eggs, lean meat, poultry and fish)
  • 2- 3 servings of fats and oils
  • 1 – 2 servings of alcohol each week
  • Each week only allowed 5 servings of sweets and 4 servings of seeds, beans or nuts

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet was based upon the diet commonly eaten along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is very high in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with healthy fats that are found in fish, beans, seeds, nuts, olive oil and nuts. Studies have shown that this diet doesn’t only help you lose weight, but provides numerous health benefits such as reducing cardiovascular diseases and breast cancer, plus improves long-term memory.

Best suited for those who are foodies but still want to take care of their health. Since you will be eliminating almost all processed foods and fatty fried foods from your diet and switching white flour and rice for whole grain options, you will lose weight. Plus, it allows you to have an occasional glass of red wine.

Example of what you should include in your diet on a typical day:

  • 3 cups of fresh vegetables (emphasis on leafy greens)
  • 2 cups of fruits
  • 1 serving of beans
  • 5 – 6 of whole grains
  • 2 servings of fish a week, (only one serving of meat or chicken a week)
  • Use olive oil instead of vegetable oils, margarine, butter
  • A handful of nuts
  • Small amount of dairy (either in yogurt or cheese)
  • One glass of RED wine (not white wine)

Whatever diet you decide works best for you, make sure to incorporate regular exercise into your weekly schedule to help you shed those extra pounds.

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