The Mediterranean diet — rich in healthy fats, fish, whole grains, and produce, and low in processed foods and red meat — was named the overall best diet for 2021 by US News & World Report.
This is the fourth straight year the Mediterranean diet has topped the site's annual list.
A panel of nutritionists and specialists in diabetes, heart health, and weight loss made the Mediterranean diet their top pick out of 39 eating plans.
The Mediterranean diet and why you should consider it
Greece is popularly known for its beautiful islands, friendly people and most importantly, delicious foods. Locals are known to live long lives full of energy. Their diet is so popular that it is followed internationally by all cultures and loved by all for its positive health benefits.
Diet trends come and go, but the Mediterranean diet is one that is set to stay due to its wide range of ingredients to enjoy and the lack of limiting restrictions imposed by other diets.
It is a diet is that is easy to follow and incorporates fresh and flavoursome ingredients, packed with delicious herbs, vital vitamins and minerals which are needed to support a healthy lifestyle.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the most healthy diets in the world, seen more as a lifestyle, shedding negative connotations around the word ‘diet’.
What to expect to eat whilst enjoying this diet
The Mediterranean diet is not as strict as others, permitting a wide variety of foods that can be enjoyed and making it easy to follow. The diet promotes the consumption of foods that are high in Omega-3s and healthy fats, such as;
- Olive oil
Individuals following this diet should reduce their intake of foods that contain:
- Added sugar
- Trans fats
- Processed meat
- Refined oils
- Highly processed foods
The diet encourages healthy eating of foods that are made with fresh ingredients rather than processed foods that will damage an individuals’ gut health.
Here are 5 benefits that make the diet a must-try:
Good for your heart health
The Mediterranean Diet is most popularly known to benefit heart health by reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. This is due to the Omega-3 packed ingredients that are encouraged to be eaten whilst following this diet.
Good for your brain
A day of food packed with heart-healthy ingredients also has fantastic benefits for your brain health. The mediterranean diet may help prevent memory loss in the long term as well as reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other types of cognitive decline. About 60% of your brain is made of fat, half of that being made of Omega-3. Not getting enough of this fatty acid is linked to learning impairments, as well as depression. Fortunately, the Mediterranean diet is packed full of healthy fatty foods to be enjoyed daily.
Help with depression and anxiety
As briefly stated above, the amount of Omega-3 your body consumes has an impact on an individual’s emotions which can lead to someone feeling depressed or happy. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to improve moods and can be found in items such as fatty fish. The Mediterranean diet also includes grains such as Quinoa which have been found to include flavonoid which is known to have a significant anti-depression effect.
It’s good for your gut
The Mediterranean diet promotes consumption of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables which are known to improve healthy bacteria and overall provide positive effects on gut health. It also helps reduce inflammation and emphasises fibre-rich foods.
People with arthritis may benefit from this diet
The diet includes ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, therefore following this diet may eliminate symptoms of Arthritis. For example, bananas are high in Magnesium and potassium that can increase bone density. Minerals such as Magnesium are also known to alleviate arthritis symptoms.
Overall, the Mediterranean diet is a stable diet that can be enjoyed by all. The diet encourages eating fresh and nutritious ingredients that provide a variety of health benefits as well as eliminating foods that will result in health issues, weight gain and other negative implications. Many individuals choose to follow the Mediterranean diet and have more success in being able to stick to it in the long term as the meal options to choose from are so much wider in comparison to other diets.