Mediterranean diet ranked healthiest diet for 4th year in a row
The Mediterranean diet, a plant-based nonrestrictive eating pattern shown to help prevent chronic diseases and improve longevity, was named the overall best diet for the fourth year in a row.
Every year, US News & World Report, an American media company, ranks the best diets for the year ahead.
The DASH and flexitarian diets tied for second place in overall diets; the former focuses on lowering blood pressure and the latter is a modified vegetarian diet.
Experts say such rankings aren’t surprising as all three diets share similarities: They’re easy to follow and focus on plant-based foods.
The Mediterranean diet is high in fresh fruits and vegetables — and low in red meat and sugar. The diet also focuses on heart-healthy fats like nuts, olive oil, avocado, and seafood.
These foods are rich in vitamins as well as important nutrients like fiber and polyphenols, plant-based compounds that help protect against disease. As such, the diet has been found to help reduce the risk of diabetes and may protect against certain types of cancers as well as cognitive decline.
The concept of the Mediterranean diet comes from the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, where people historically ate mainly produce, nuts, and healthy fats.
The Mediterranean region is part of the so-called blue zone, regions of the world where people tend to live the longest, healthiest lives.
"It's not a surprise when you look at the top three or top five diets ... the one thing they all have in common is that they're rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats," said Kathie Beals, a registered dietitian and associate clinical professor at the University of Utah.
These eating patterns are also compatible with different budgets. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, more than 50 million Americans, which includes 17 million children, are facing food insecurity, according to Feeding America. The nation’s largest anti-hunger organization said that is an increase of 50 percent from last year.