Want to protect your heart, eat more fruits and veggies, and cut unhealthy carbs?
One of the healthiest diets—it’s endorsed by the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and other health authorities—is DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
That’s because a DASH-style diet is low in saturated fat, sugar, and salt, and rich in fruits and vegetables. It’s also rich in nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber.
In 1997, a landmark study found that a DASH diet could lower blood pressure as well as some prescription drugs. That news was a bombshell, because high blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
The OmniHeart study diets
Then, in 2005, came another news flash. The OmniHeart studyreported that two variations of the DASH diet were even better for your heart than the original:
The higher-protein variation replaced some of DASH’s carbs with protein—half from plant sources (like beans, peas, and nuts) and half from animal foods (like fish, lean poultry, and low-fat dairy).
The higher-healthy-fat variation was a Mediterranean-style diet. It replaced some of DASH’s carbs with healthy fats like oils, salad dressing, mayonnaise, nuts, fatty fish, and avocado. The oils—like canola, olive, and soybean—were polyunsaturated or monounsaturated, not saturated like coconut or palm.
The two OmniHeart diets beat the original DASH diet because they were better at lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides.
Our take on the OmniHeart Diet
We’ve created a hybrid of the two OmniHeart diets, with a “wild card” that lets you eat one extra serving of carbs, protein, or healthy fat each day. Here are examples of a day’s worth of food for omnivores or vegetarians.
Here’s how many servings to aim for—and what a typical serving consists of—if you eat roughly 2,000 calories a day. (Click here for a chart with extra tips that you can download, save, and print.)
Note: The Wild Card lets you add about 120 calories’ worth of fish & poultry, fats & oils, whole grains, desserts & sweets, or any other category above.
Daily goals (for roughly 2,000 calories a day):
- Saturated fat: 14 g
- Sodium: No more than 2,300 mg
- Fiber: at least 30 g
- Protein: 105 g
- Potassium: 4,700 mg
- Magnesium: 500 mg
- Calcium: 1,200 mg