Editors' pick: Originally published Jan. 5.
Good or bad (thanks a lot, 2016), as we leave one year behind and head towards a hopefully better future, the new year always has one absolute. Following a season of cookies and cocktails, many of us find ourselves feeling the weight of our actions when stepping up to the unforgiving scale. Faced with such a dreadful realization, we promise to be eat better and exercise more once that clock strikes midnight, or rather the morning after.
Though most of those resolutions go out the window within the week, it's good to know your options. U.S. News & World Report released its annual ranking of the best diets after convening a panel of the country's top nutritionists, dietary consultants and physicians specializing in diabetes, heart health and weight loss. Of the 28 considered, these three took the cake...or the lack thereof.
Originally designed to reduce blood pressure without having to take medication, the DASH diet was once high in refined grains and starches. It has since been re-imagined for weightless with a diet focused on fruits and vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, along with nuts, beans, and seeds. Say goodbye to refined grains and added sugars. The diet is designed with enough protein so you can lose weight while avoiding losing muscle and slowing your metabolism. For picky eaters and those not too keen on change, this diet is often considered one of the most flexible plans around.
If you want to go a little more hardcore, the Mediterranean diet is arguably the healthiest regimen around. Among other dietary changes, you'll be eating primarily plant-based foods and replacing butter with olive and canola oil and salt with herbs and seasonings. Red meat should be eliminated from your diet or only consumed a couple of times a month. Oh,, and you're supposed to workout. On the bright side, the diet encourages the consumption of red wine...in moderation, of course.
Why settle on the DASH or the Mediterranean when you can have both? The MIND diet combines the two previously mentioned diets to focus on foods that promote healthy brain function. It includes foods you know (and sometimes love) such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and blessed wine. Although, you'll have to leave red meat, butter, cheese, sweets and fast food. For your sacrifice, the diet is said to potentially reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's.