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Top Heart-Healthy Diets: Vegan And Keto Are Not Among Them

Scientists have ranked the most effective diets for heart health

According to the World Health Organization, heart diseases are one of the main causes of mortality on a global scale. Along with regular exercise and quitting smoking, a healthy diet is the main way to protect yourself from heart problems, CNN recalls. Leading experts from the American Heart Association (AHA) rank the most popular diets proven to improve heart health in a new study. Lets see the top heart-healthy diets winner.

The winner is DASH – 100% compliant with recommendations for a healthy, heart-healthy diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension; because high blood pressure is a major factor in heart disease and stroke.

This diet encourages consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy foods, poultry, fish, nuts, and beans, while limiting intake of red meat, fat, sugar, and salt. The pescatarian diet, which allows dairy products, eggs, fish, and other seafood but no meat, came in second with 92 percent compliance with the AHA guidelines.

The award-winning Mediterranean diet is 89% compliant with recommendations. This diet recommends a small glass of red wine each day and doesn’t limit salt, explains lead author Christopher Gardner, a professor of medicine at the Prevention Research Center in Stanford, California, who leads a research group on the study of nutrition.

Research has linked the Mediterranean diet to a reduced risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression, weight loss, stronger bones, a healthier heart and longer life.

by Wanderlust Magazine

A lacto-vegetarian diet, which allows dairy products and eggs but no fish or any other kind of meat, came in fourth at 86%. All these diets have so many common features that they can be united in one higher “level” of food patterns, according to Prof. Christopher Gardner.

Very low-carb diets, such as Atkins, as well as the various keto diets, are on the lower end of heart-healthy eating patterns because of their emphasis on red meat, full-fat dairy, and saturated fat, as well as of limited intake of fruits and vegetables. Vegan diets and low-fat diets, such as bulking, are in the middle of the rankings, meeting about 78% of the AHA’s dietary guidelines.

Very low-fat diets, including less than 10%, which accounts for some vegan diets (72%), and low-carb diets such as the South Beach, Zone, and low-glycemic-index diets (64%) are next, an even lower level of compliance with the guidelines of health experts.

However, Prof. Gardner specifies that the prepared ranking is more for the representatives of the medical professions than for ordinary readers. The goal is for doctors to become familiar with the latest developments in the topic of heart disease prevention, as nutrition is not always a priority in Medical Universities.

…It’s an informational protocol for doctors. When they ask the patient about the diet — which I don’t think happens that often — and they say, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m on Paleo.’ I’m vegan. I’m keto or DASH,’

I don’t think they really know what that means,” adds the professor.

That’s absolutely true, confirms cardiologist Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention at National Jewish Health, a hospital in Denver. “Five or six years ago, we surveyed 1,000 cardiologists and it turned out that about 90 percent of them knew next to nothing about nutrition,” explains Freeman, who was not involved in the development of the AHA. Still, patients should discuss their top heart-healthy diets with their doctor during regular checkups, Freeman adds.

It is difficult to follow a diet in a society that allows ultra-processed fast foods such as bacon and burgers to become the norm, while at the same time asking people to change this basic element of their daily life

by Prof. Christopher Gardner

According to Prof. Gardner, rather than talking about the benefits of specific heart-healthy foods, advice should focus on the overall eating pattern. In this regard, he emphasizes that each diet in the ranking is rated as it is intended to be consumed, not as people might do in real life. According to Dr. Freeman, the extent to which we protect our heart from disease depends on our individual will and top heart-healthy diets choice.

Here’s a sample daily meal plan for the DASH diet:


  • Low fat Bulgarian yogurt with fresh berries and a sprinkle of chopped nuts
  • Whole grain toast topped with mashed avocado and sliced tomatoes
  • A glass of skim milk or almond milk


  • Griled cajun chicken salad with baby spinach, rockets, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers and fresh grapefrut dressing.
  • Brown rice and mushrooms on the side.
  • A piece of fruit


  • Black pepper crusted salmon
  • Steamed broccoli with garlic
  • Quinoa pilaf with diced vegetables
  • Mixed berry salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette

Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day and to include healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, or raw vegetables if you get hungry between meals. Adjust portion sizes according to your individual calorie needs and consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian before making significant changes to your diet.


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