Disease Prevention Diets

Woman checking blood pressure with smartphone app. Woman taking care of her health and measuring heart rate pulse with smartphone app. Whether you think you’re at risk of a heart condition, you’ve already received a diagnosis or you just think your cardiovascular health is worth some extra attention when you make your food choices, a disease prevention diet may be very helpful for you.

An unhealthy diet is considered to be one of the top contributors to many chronic diseases and even death in the United States. Among the conditions most affected by what you eat include heart disease and stroke. If that isn’t scary enough, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data revealed that over 30 percent of American adults are obese and about 70 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese is a leading factor to heart health risks.

Choosing a Disease Prevention Diet

By choosing a disease prevention diet, you make the decision to take control over several risk factors and turn things in a far more positive direction. They key to this type of diet is to take it on at a gradual pace with the intention of continually improving your efforts over the long term. This is not a fad diet that you will follow for a few days or weeks. This is a lifestyle you will follow for many years if not the rest of your life.

A disease prevention diet can seem intimidating at first, but many of them are not nearly as overwhelming as they seem. The reason is that the changes are made gradually but regularly, giving you time to keep up with the learning curve. Every time you’ve worked one new good habit into your life, it’s time for the next one, until this becomes a comfortable way for you to live. Soon the positive changes will feel second nature to you.

Still, as you can see, it will take a certain amount of dedication, particularly at the beginning. After all, nobody really wants to have to overhaul their eating and activity. They want to have achieved it, but they don’t want to have to go through the process of learning it and making changes to what is familiar and comfortable. That’s understandable. It’s time consuming, unfamiliar and can feel awkward in the beginning.

Fortunately, the more certain heart health diets are researched, the more resources and support become available to make them easier to adopt. Two of the strategies that are getting the most attention at the moment – and have been for a few years now – are the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet.

The DASH Diet

The DASH diet received specific healthy eating mention when the Dietary Guidelines for Americans were updated in 2010. This type of eating strategy is based on eating primarily fresh fruits and veggies as well as low fat dairy, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Equally, you’ll be working to keep your consumption of added sugar, sodium and alcohol under a certain limit.

The primary focus is nutrient density. If you’ve never really thought about how many nutrients are crammed into every calorie you eat, then you’ll find yourself reading a lot of nutrition labels as you shop for the first while.

The Mediterranean Diet

On the other hand, the Mediterranean Diet is a type of food plan based on the traditional eating habits of (can you guess?) people who live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. More specifically, it focuses on the diets of countries where olives are traditionally grown, such as Italy, Spain and Greece. This diet is far from new. It became more popular outside that region of the world when a study that ran from the 1950s through the 1960s suggested that people living in those countries had considerably lower mortality rates than other Western nations such as the United States and Great Britain.

Subsequent studies led to the actual definition of this diet in 1993 at the International Conference on the Diets of the Mediterranean. This diet encourages larger consumption of legumes, fruits and vegetables, unrefined grains and olive oil. Moderate amounts of dairy and fish are also consumed. Meat is eaten much less. That said, a moderate amount of alcohol – particularly red wine – is permitted.

This way of eating naturally keeps saturated fat consumption low while it gives you a healthy dose of nutritious fats. Research has shown that this type of eating pattern can offer natural protection against several types of illness. The higher the level of adherence to this diet compared to a traditional American diet, the lower the risk of coronary heart disease, cancer mortality and “all cause” mortality. That certainly makes a rather appealing case for this kind of diet!


If you want to try to adopt a new way of eating in order to keep your heart health high, talk to your doctor about whether the DASH or Mediterranean diets might be right for you.

Disease Prevention Diet Reviews

Review: TLC Diet

Review: TLC Diet

The TLC diet stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. It is a type of eating strategy created to help people to be able to effectively reduce their cholesterol levels. The claim is that by keeping up this diet over the long term, you will be able to lower your bad...

read more
Review: Ornish Diet 

Review: Ornish Diet 

History The original Ornish Diet was first created in 1989 by Dr. Dean Ornish. It was designed to be followed by patients at risk of heart problems such as cardiovascular disease or heart attack. That said, the diet has since been updated to be called Dean Ornish’s...

read more