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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

DASH diet ranks number one: what does it entail?

U.S. News and World Report released its latest rankings of best diets and once again, the DASH diet came out on top. Its panel of experts declared the diet was number one for overall best diet, and for the best diet to promote health and combat diabetes. The media group, where I used to work, also came out with a ranking of easiest diets to follow, but DASH didn’t come out of top for that one.

Those honors went to Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and the Mediterranean Diet -- in that order.

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Still, I’m inclined to disagree with the experts there since I think DASH -- which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension -- is pretty intuitive if you’re already making attempts to follow a nutritious diet.

Here are the basics if you’re following a typical 2,000 calorie diet:

1. Eat seven to eight servings of grain a day with at least three whole-grain servings. One slice of bread, 1/2 English muffin, 1/4 large bagel, 1 ounce of dry cereal, or 1/2 cup cooked cereal, pasta, corn, or rice equals a serving. Choose whole-wheat or whole-grain when possible.

2. Eat four to five servings a day of fruits. One medium piece of fruit, 1/2 cup canned frozen fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit, or 6 ounces of fresh sliced fruit equals a serving.

3. Eat four to five servings a day of vegetables. One cup of leafy raw vegetables or 1/2 cup of cooked or raw vegetables equals a serving.

4. Eat two to three servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. One 8-ounce cup of milk or yogurt, 1.5 ounces of hard cheese, 2 cups of cottage cheese equals a serving.

5. Eat two servings of lean meat, fish, eggs, or chicken. One serving equals 2.5 to 3.5 ounces cooked or one egg.

6. Eat four to five servings a week of nuts, beans, and legumes. One serving equals two tablespoons of peanut butter, 1/4 cup or 1 ounce of nuts, 2 tablespoons or 1 ounce of seeds, 1/4 cup cooked beans, lentils, or peas.

7. Limit your intake of fat and sweets.

For more details check out the DASH website and here’s the latest on how the DASH diet can help prevent teen obesity.

Deborah Kotz can be reached at dkotz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.
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