One of the most hyped diet practices apart from the Keto, the Mediterranean diet has been named as the best overall diet for 2021 for the fourth consecutive year by the US News and World Report’s annual ranking.
The dietary practice which is consistently backed by studies showing a correlation with lowering the risk of certain diseases is based on the traditional foods of the Mediterranean region. The diet was widely chosen by health enthusiasts as it is easy to follow and nutritionally balanced.
The Mediterranean diet guides people to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains that are low on “bad” cholesterol. It is known to keep your heart healthy, prevent disease and promote longevity.
The ranking was done by a panel of nutritionists and health experts in the field of diabetes, heart health, and weight loss which picked the Mediterranean diet as their top choice out of 39 eating plans, including Keto, Weight Watchers and Atkins. The DASH and the flexitarian diets secured the second and the third spot in the same category.
Besides maintaining its top position as the Best Diet Overall, the Mediterranean diet has also been titted as the Best Diets for Healthy Eating, Easiest Diets to Follow, Best Diets for Diabetes, and Best Plant-Based Diets categories.
Shockingly, the most searched Keto diet, Whole30 and Atkins were ranked among the lowest on US News & World Report’s list because of their poor sustainability and restrictions.
What is a Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a very traditional eating concept of people living in the Mediterranean region like Greece, Italy, France. The diet focuses on eating healthy carbs in the form of unprocessed, organic whole grain, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Poultry, fish and red meat consumption are limited to a weekly basis, while dairy products and red wine are consumed in moderation.
The eating concept was followed in the region during the 1960s and later researchers noted that people living in the Mediterranean countries were exceptionally healthy and had a low risk of lifestyle diseases as compared to those in the US and other parts of Europe. Even the Word Health Organization (WHO) has recognized this as a healthy and sustainable dietary pattern.
As per the American Heart Association, the average Mediterranean diet contains a high percentage of calories from fat. But it is not harmful as it comes from monounsaturated fats like olive oil.
The well-known health benefits of the Mediterranean diet is that it helps in weight loss as it controls the consumption of high-calorie processed foods and sugar and at the same time ensures the consumption of enough fruits and vegetables.
The diet pattern is helpful to strengthen cardiovascular health. It controls various risk factors for heart disease like bad cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. It can also aid in controlling diabetes risk as well as regulating blood sugars
Mediterranean diet also reduces inflammation and offers a good amount of antioxidants which can help your body fight against free radicals, which further helps in controlling the overall risk of chronic diseases.