When it comes to the 100-meter dash, the undisputed champs are Usain Bolt (he did it is 9.58 seconds in 2009) and Florence Griffith-Joyner (10.49 second in 1988).
But if you want better heart health, a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine says you should set out on an eight-week-long DASH diet.
Researchers wanted to see what two different diets rich in fruits and vegetables — containing, respectively, 8.5 and 9.5 servings of produce daily — would do for middle-age Americans' heart health.
The diet with the most servings of produce (9.5) was the DASH diet, which also includes beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, low-fat dairy, very little saturated fat or cholesterol, and reduced salt.
Their conclusion? In just eight weeks, people on both those plant-based diets saw a significant reduction in heart strain and heart muscle injury such as might happen from high blood pressure, heart failure, or severe calcification of coronary arteries.
But the DASH diet was the more effective of the two.
Previous analyses showed that for people with high blood pressure, the DASH diet lowers systolic blood pressure (top number) by 11.4 points and diastolic blood pressure (lower number) by 5.5 points. And it reduces LDL cholesterol levels.
For diet guidelines, go to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and search for "DASH eating plan."
After that, dash out to the store for some veggies and fruit, and try a plant-centered diet for two months. You'll end up the big winner.