Mediterranean diet is the best diet there is

Diets come and go and have their time in the trending list. The U.S. News and World Report has however confirmed that the healthiest diet at present is the Mediterranean diet.

Image Credit: DarkBird / Shutterstock
Image Credit: DarkBird / Shutterstock

For this report the team of experts ranked 41 different popular diets. They came to the unanimous conclusion that the Mediterranean diet can provide long term benefit to health. They named the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) as the second healthiest diet. The DASH diet is recommended for keeping hypertension or high blood pressure under control. Third on the list was a flexitarian diet that is mainly vegetarian diet which allows an occasional serving of meat. Fourth in the list was shared by brain-focused MIND diet and Weight Watcher’s diet and 11th on the list is the Vegetarian diet. Vegan diet ranks 20th on the list, Paleo diet ranks 33rd and Whole30 and Keto diets rank 38 together. Keto diet has been most in news over the last year, gaining popularity.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Eggs, dairy and poultry can be added to this diet. According to experts each of these components are health healthy and provide wholesome nutrition and health. They add that this diet is also easy to follow and adhere to unlike other diets.

Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for the gut as well. The fibre content of this diet can help keep the bowel movements smooth and regular. The diet also adds to the healthy gut bacteria that helps in myriad of body functions including immunity and general good health. The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory components of this diet is additionally beneficial for slowing down the aging process and improve brain health. The calcium rich components of this diet are responsible for improving bone and muscle health among consumers especially among post-menopausal women. The diet keeps several diseases at bay including diabetes, dyslipidemia or raised cholesterol, memory loss and dementia, breast cancers, depression etc. Overall it also helps maintain the body weight near normal say experts.

To come to the diet ranking the panel of experts on heart disease, diabetes, dieticians, food psychologists etc. looked at the available research on diets from different reports, scientific journals and other sources. Angela Haupt, assistant managing editor of health for US News and World Report, explained that the ranking was on the basis of seven categories, “how easy it is to follow, its nutritional completeness, its ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, its safety and its potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease.” She said that in 2018 the top place on the diet rank was a tie between Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.

According to experts the common factor among all the top diets was the use of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, seeds, nuts and minimizing the use of processed foods. Al Bochi, who is a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said, “The foods in the Mediterranean diet are really high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are all key components for reducing the risk for chronic disease.”

According to Haupt the reason behind this ranking of diets is to send out a public message on the diets to follow. She said, “New diet trends are a dime a dozen. We want to provide comprehensive, trustworthy information that highlights the diet standouts and those that don't perform so well in an array of different categories.” She said, “It's a chance for experts to help the general public separate diets that are looking for their 15 minutes of fame from diets that are based on what we know about the fundamentals of healthy eating. It's really replacing controversy and confusion with consensus.”

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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