US News & World Report recently ranked the Mediterranean diet as the best overall diet six years in a row. It was also awarded as the best overall plant-based diet.
Adopting this style of eating is healthy for many reasons. Those who follow the diet's basic principles lose a lot more than weight; they also reduce inflammation, blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol.
In 2018, a review of 29 studies that looked at almost 13 million people found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, heart attack, Type 2 diabetes, overall cancer occurrences, and neurodegenerative diseases.
The best part? Dieters are anything but deprived; they can choose from a wide array of delicious, satisfying foods.
Following the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet centers around fresh plant foods—as much as a pound of day of veggies and fruit.
In addition, followers enjoy:
- whole grains
- olive oil
Poultry and dairy products can be enjoyed in moderation—along with red wine.
- Choose whole grain breads, cereals and pastas.
- Eat two servings of fish a week.
- Use spices and herbs to flavor your food instead of salt.
- Cook with olive oil instead of butter. Don't overdo it, though: each tablespoon contains about 120 calories.
How Does The Diet Work?
Researchers believe the benefits of the diet stem from its emphasis on monounsaturated fats (from avocado, fish, and olive oil) as well as its high fiber, which slows digestion and prevents blood sugar spikes.
A review of studies shows that overweight people who adopted this style of eating lost between 5 and 18 pounds over a period ranging from one to two year. Those who incorporated exercise into their routine are the ones who lost the most weight.