For the last 10 years, U.S. News has assembled a panel of experts to rank the best diets for improving heart health and preventing heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and the heart-healthy diets selected by these experts have been proven to help people lose weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and even help reverse heart disease.
All the diets from this list are approved and recommended by Heart & Vascular Institute cardiologists. Before starting a diet, however, make sure to consult your primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns.
The Best Diets for Your Heart:
#1 – Ornish Diet
Ranked as the #1 heart-healthy diet for the 9th time in 10 years, the Ornish diet has built a reputation as being THE most successful diet for improving heart health, preventing heart disease, and reversing its effects. Developed by Dean Ornish, a physician and professor at UC San Francisco, the Ornish diet is low in refined carbs, fat, and animal products, while also asking dieters to undergo several lifestyle improvements, including exercise, yoga, meditation, stress management, and more. That said, it’s the only scientifically proven diet program to reverse heart disease in randomized controlled trials without drugs or surgery, making the disciplined approach well worth the reward.
#2 – Mediterranean Diet
Coming in as the #1 Best Overall Diet by U.S. News, the Mediterranean diet is one of the most-studied diets for the prevention of heart disease. It’s long been known that people living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less from cancer and cardiovascular ailments than most Americans, with their diet and lifestyle being key contributing factors. Today, the Mediterranean diet has become one of the easiest to follow and manage, as well as providing proven results for lowering the risk of heart disease.
#3 – DASH Diet
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to stop or prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). The DASH diet is fairly simple to follow, as it emphasizes healthy foods you’re used to eating like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy while discouraging foods that are high in saturated fats and sodium. It ranked only behind the Mediterranean diet for #2 Best Overall Diet according to U.S. News, in large part for its balance and ease to follow long-term. Not only is DASH an excellent diet for all-around health improvements, but also heart-specific improvements as well.
To see a complete list of the 12 Best Heart Diets, please visit U.S. News.