If you have pledged to lose weight and stay fit in 2018, your best bet would be to choose either the Mediterranean or DASH diet, as these two have been declared the healthiest diets for 2018. The DASH diet has been designed to lower hypertension and focuses on a low sodium, low saturated fats approach. The Mediterranean diet also follows a low saturated fat plan. Let’s take a closer look at both diets and try to find an answer to the Mediterranean vs. DASH diet dilemma:
Mediterranean vs. DASH diet explained
What is the Mediterranean diet?
In order to make a choice between the Mediterranean vs. DASH diet, one must understand what the diets are. The Mediterranean diet gets its name from the traditional healthy eating habits of people living in Mediterranean countries. This diet has been seen to improve health and provide longevity. This diet is high in healthy fats like fish, olive oil, nuts, as well as vegetables and fruits. Whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy, and limited red wine are also allowed in the diet. The diet is packed with healthy omega fatty acids.
Moderation is the key in this diet. It allows 3 ounces of dairy every week and two red wine glasses with every meal. The choice between the Mediterranean vs. DASH diet is a tough one. Both the diets are about a way of living rather than just about a way of eating. These diets are for people who don’t like being on a strict eating regime. With both the diets, you have to follow a healthy eating routine which is great for your overall health.
What is DASH diet?
DASH or Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension has been developed to help lower blood pressure levels. It does not stop you from eating anything. Even red meat is allowed in this diet! However, moderation again is the key. Just like the Mediterranean diet, you can eat whole grains, vegetables, fruits, non-fat or low-fat dairy and any standard drinks (two glasses for men and one for women) every day. If you follow the DASH diet, you have to avoid sugary drinks, saturated food, and salty foods. Depending on your blood pressure, you can consume either 2300 mg or 1500 mg of salt every day.
DASH diet vs. Mediterranean diet: What happens when the two are combined?
Experts recommend the DASH diet is all about achieving balance. This is because you don’t have to give up red meat like in the Mediterranean diet, but you have to eat it in moderation. You can combine both the diets to achieve your health goals – be it weight loss or fitness. In DASH diet system, you have to limit your portions and tweak it to fit your age, gender, lifestyle, and activity levels. There are no exotic foods in this diet. This means that every food item required in the diet can be found at all the grocery stores.
If you combine both the diets, you can have the best of both. Eating olive oil and fish which is part of the Mediterranean diet while following a low sodium diet prescribed by the DASH diet will benefit you immensely.
Mediterranean vs. DASH diet – The differences explained
Though the two diets are quite similar, there are some key differences. DASH suggests reducing your sodium intake according to American guidelines, whereas the Mediterranean diet does not have any set guidelines regarding salt. In fact, olives, which are a part of this diet, are high in salt.
Another aspect in which the diets are different is in the level of intake of dairy and red meat. DASH urges consumption of non-fat or low-fat dairy every day. However, the Mediterranean system suggests less dairy, which may mean that this diet is low on calcium. Mediterranean diet is higher in omega 3 fatty acids, which is healthier for the heart.
Also, there is no mention of alcohol in DASH, whereas, in the Mediterranean diet, red wine is prescribed for its anti-oxidant properties.
DASH diet vs. Mediterranean diet: Which is better?
It is hard to select between the two. The only way you can do this is by choosing according to your blood pressure levels, your location, lifestyle, and budget.
Both the diets suggest eating unsaturated fats and avoiding empty calories. If you live in an area where fish is abundant, olive oil inexpensive, and you are not averse to red wine; you can combine both diets. The diets are supposed to be an integral part of your life, which will benefit you in the long run.