It’s a never-ending winning streak. The Mediterranean diet won the annual contest for the best diet for the fifth year in a row, according to ratings released Tuesday by U.S. News & World Report.
Coming in second place, in a tie: The DASH diet, which stands for dietary methods to stopping hypertension and stresses salt reduction; and the flexitarian diet, which advocates being a vegetarian most of the time but is flexible enough to allow a burger now and then.
All three of these diets emphasize eating fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds instead of processed foods.
A panel of 27 experts examined 40 diets and ranked them in several categories, including how easy the diet is to follow; how likely a person is to lose significant weight, both short and long term; how effective the diet is in preventing cardiovascular disease or diabetes; and the nutritional completeness of the diet.
In addition to taking first place as the most significant overall diet, the Mediterranean diet also won first place in the following categories:
– Simplest diets to follow.
– Best diets for healthy eating.
– Best diets for diabetes.
– Best plant-based diets.
Numerous studies have shown that following a Mediterranean diet can lower your risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression, and breast cancer. The diet, which is more of an eating style than a prescriptive diet, has also been linked to stronger bones, a better heart, and living a longer life.
The diet emphasizes basic, plant-based cooking, with fruits and vegetables, healthy grains, legumes and seeds, a few nuts, and a significant emphasis on extra-virgin olive oil dominating each meal. Other fats, like butter, are rarely consumed, while sugar and processed meals are kept for special occasions.
Social connections at meals, as well as physical activity, are fundamental tenets of the Mediterranean diet. Consuming with friends and family, conversing over meals, consciously eating favorite foods, and mindful movement and exercise are all part of the diet.