For three consecutive years, The Mediterranean diet has been awarded diet of the year by the U.S. News & World Report.
As far as overall health is concerned, the ancient regimen is hard to beat but there are plans that emphasize nutriments of more material to individuals living with chronic conditions.
The Dash Diet was conceived back in 1992 by the National Institute of Health in an effort to curb rising hypertension and CVD statistics in the United States. The intervention method, which called for a surplus of fresh ingredients and disallowed heavily processed foods, is inching back towards relevance in the midst of a global viral crisis.
The novel coronavirus doesn’t discriminate between school teachers, systems architects, journalists, electrical engineers, or quality assurance test engineers. But it does discriminate against healthy and unhealthy people. Half of the first 170 patients who died of COVID-19 suffered from hypertension before contracting the novel infection.
“From what I was told by other doctors and the data I can see myself, among all the underlying diseases, hypertension is a key dangerous factor,” said Du, director of the intensive care unit at Peking Union Medical College Hospital in the Chinese capital of Beijing in a press statement.
The Dash Diet is designed to eliminate dietary agents that spike inflammation and clog arteries. Pending pandemic aside, heart disease remains the number one killer in the US by a sizable margin.
“In the last 50 years in the US, clinicians have seen a rise in diseases including hypertension (HTN), diabetes, obesity, and coronary artery disease (CAD). An estimated 2000 people die of heart disease every day in the US. Chronic diseases related to diet and obesity have become major causes of death in the US across all ethnicities. Obesity has been linked to the major etiological factor in diabetes, HTN, cancer, and CAD,” write the team of researchers that established the regimen.
The diet allows 2,000 calories a day, primarily composed of whole-grain ingredients, and emphasizes clean eating.
Here’s what you can eat
- Fruits (particularly ones that are low in sugar): Apples, oranges, bananas, apricots, and berries,
- Vegetables (literally all of them- including frozen and canned products, assuming they do not contain added sodium.
- Whole grains: Breads, brown rice bulgur, quinoa, and oatmeal.
- Healthy dairy: Fat-free cheese, milk, and yogurt
- Lean meats: Skinless chicken, white fish, turkey, and the occasional serving of red meat or pork.
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes: unsalted raw almonds, sunflower seeds, kidney beans.
- Healthy vegetable-based oils, including olive oil
And here’s what you shouldn’t
- Sugary products: Candy, cookies, sodas, and canned or sugar-added fruit juices
- Full fat dairy and cheese
- Enriched Grains: White bread, pasta, plus things like packaged potato snacks.
- Anything containing elevated sodium levels. Think: frozen meals, convenience store snacks, fast food.
- Alcohol: In excess, it can be quite the stress on blood pressure, and added stress on liver.
“If you’re dealing with elevated blood pressure or other cardiovascular risks, there’s no question about it; but even if you’re looking to lose weight before hitting the beach this summer, the DASH diet may be safer for you compared to the keto diet or Whole30,” explains Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CSO, CDN, a registered dietitian within the Good Housekeeping Institute.
All of the probative data on the COVID-19’s development suggest we might be in the trench for longer than previously assumed. In the meantime, remember to sanitize and fortify your body against harmful agents.
The Dash Diet is a good place to start if you have a history of CVD, high blood pressure or hypertension.