New year, new lifestyle change? Try the Mediterranean diet.
For the fifth year in a row, the Mediterranean diet continues to be named the best overall diet, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking.
The Mediterranean diet, which is consistently backed by studies showing a correlation with decreased risk of disease, also nabbed the No. 1 spot for best diets for healthy eating, easiest diets to follow, best diets for diabetes, best plant-based diets and best heart-healthy diets.
The diet advocates heart-healthy foods that are typically eaten in the Mediterranean. The diet guides people to eat plenty of plants and foods that are low on “bad” cholesterol, such as legumes, nuts, wheat, fruits and veggies. For example, in this diet, you replace butter with healthy fats like olive oil, salt with herbs and spices, and red meat with fish and poultry.
Plus, it’s totally cool to have a glass of red wine on occasion.
In one of the largest and longest studies that looks at the diet’s effect on gut bacteria, published in February 2020 by the British Medical Journal Gut, research found the Mediterranean diet could have a positive effect within just one year for older adults by reducing the “bad” ones and increasing the “good.”
Also like last year, the DASH and Flexitarian diets tied in at No. 2 for Best Overall Diet. The DASH diet, short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the government-backed plan aimed at helping followers lower their blood pressure while the Flexitarian diet is a modified vegetarian diet where users eat animal products in moderation.
Contributing: Brett Molina, Ryan Miller, USA TODAY; Rebecca King, North Jersey