Do you know the world’s best diet? Yes, there is one that experts have been ranking BEST for years now. Studies show it does everything, including helping you maintain a healthy weight, improving your heart health, and reducing symptoms of depression.
And it’s no passing fad diet, either. The media is always hyping some latest and greatest diet. Maybe that’s why nearly 50% of Americans try to lose weight each year.
One trustworthy media outlet, the U.S. News & World Report, just released its annual review of the best and worst diets.
Once again this year the Mediterranean diet topped the list.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and see why it keeps winning the top spot.
What Is The Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet consists of healthy fats like olive oil, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fresh seafood, and legumes.
Studies show people following a Mediterranean diet had fewer heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from heart disease. The diet seems to work best for folks with a high risk of heart disease. That’s because the components of the diet are great for heart health.
Olive oil contains significant amounts of antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids (or “MUFAs”). MUFAs keep insulin levels in check, making olive oil good for diabetics. MUFAs also help with cholesterol levels.
Due to its chemical structure and function, olive oil also protects your cells from oxidation damage. This reduces your risk of developing diseases of inflammation. That includes heart disease, arthritis, and high blood pressure.
Olive oil also plays a significant role in longevity.
A recent study out of Harvard found that, compared with folks who ate no olive oil, the participants (60,582 female and 31,801 male) eating half a tablespoon of olive oil or more each day were:
• 17% less likely to die from cancer
• 18% less likely to die from respiratory illness like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”)
• 19% less likely to die from cardiovascular illness like heart disease or stroke
• 29% less likely to die from neurodegenerative illness like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
You might conclude then that if you want to live longer, eating olive oil is a good idea!
Not just any olive oil, though. Choose extra virgin olive oil (“EVOO”), which is the least-processed form. EVOO retains more of the natural vitamins and antioxidants from the olives used to make it. Eat at least 2 tablespoons every day.
Don’t forget to include plenty of fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet. About 10 servings a day is ideal for lowering your risk of cancer and premature death. Even just two and a half servings provide some benefit, but the more the better.
We’ve also seen how benefits of the Mediterranean diet protects against cognitive decline. A study in monkeys showed that following the diet improved good gut bacteria. Remember, our guts contain trillions of bacteria that regulate everything from digestion to our immune system.
The Mediterranean diet consistently outperforms other diets in clinical trials. Year after year, it ranks as one of the best ways to eat because there are so many benefits of the Mediterranean diet. It’s hard to imagine any reason not to follow this way of eating.
Give it a try of you’re not already eating this way! Common side effects include better health, reduced signs of aging, and more energy. I’ll take those side effects any day of the week. I’m sure you would too!
If you feel stuck and need additional support to adopt a new healthy habit or routine, consider working with me. We can partner up in setting goals, drawing on your skills and strengths, and implementing strategies to help you find your way to lasting healthy success.
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For over 15 years, Shelli has been a freelance writer and wellness habit coach on Joyinmovement. She writes about brain fitness, creating a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world, and making positive habits stick. Stop procrastinating! Take action, join her free newsletter.