The Best Diet for the Heart? You Likely Haven’t Heard of It

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Looking to boost your overall health? The Mediterranean Diet is a great choice. But if you want to specifically target heart health, another diet might be better.

The Mediterranean Diet, which emphasizes produce, nuts and whole grains, and shuns red meat, sugar and saturated fat, dominated this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best diets.

An expert panel of 25 nutritionists, dietary consultants and physicians ranked the Mediterranean Diet as best in several categories, including:

  • Best diet overall
  • Best diet for healthy eating (tie with DASH Diet)
  • Best diabetes diet (tie with several other diets)
  • Easiest diet to follow
  • Best plant-based diet

However, a lesser-known diet, the Ornish Diet, took top honors as the best heart-healthy diet. Created in 1977 by Dr. Dean Ornish — a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco — this diet is low in fat, refined carbohydrates and animal protein.

In addition, followers of the Ornish diet are encouraged to exercise, learn to handle stress and cultivate healthy relationships. According to U.S. News:

“U.S. News experts rank the diet highly in most categories — especially heart health, where it tied for the No. 2 spot in 2018 — due in part to its solid evidence-base.”

Note that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other top finishers in this year’s U.S. News rankings are:

  • Best weight-loss diet: WW (Weight Watchers) Diet
  • Best commercial diet plan: WW (Weight Watchers) Diet
  • Best fast weight-loss diet: HMR (Health Management Resources) Program

While eating better is a great way to boost your long-term health, some people say they are too busy to cook healthful meals.

If you are among these busy bees, check out our article “7 Kitchen Gadgets That Make Healthy Cooking a Breeze.” These items promise to both simplify and speed up your healthy cooking efforts.

Which diet works best for you? Let us know in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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