Why the Mediterranean Diet is Ranked the Best in the World

Why the Mediterranean Diet is Ranked the Best in the World


Get to know the facts surrounding Mediterranean-style diets and why everyone from health experts to celebrities swear by it

For the sixth year in a row, the panel of health experts for U.S. News & World Report ranked the Mediterranean diet as the best in the world. In case you weren’t already aware, this diet is named after the general cuisine that the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea enjoy, which relies on plant-based foods and healthy seafood.

There is actually plenty of literature backing this ranking up as experts have long observed that people from Mediterranean countries greatly benefit from their diets, such as having fewer instances of coronary heart disease in their populations and enjoying longer life expectancies. In fact, the Mediterranean country Monaco is ranked highest in the list of countries with the longest estimated life expectancies. The United Nations reported that male Monégasques live an average of 85.17 years, while female Monégasques live an average of 88.99 years as of 2023. Meanwhile, the global life expectancy in 2023 is 70.8 years for males and 76.0 years for females.

Mediterranean Diet

Most notable among this diet’s many benefits is that by sticking to it, you could reduce your risk of diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as help with your weight loss. John Goodman, for example, lost 200 pounds while following a Mediterranean diet. In addition to that, research shows that Mediterranean diets supplemented with fish oil can improve the mental health of people with depression.

RELATED: Junk Food’s Effect on Mental Health, and How to Eat Better 

Aside from the long-term physical and mental health benefits surrounding this pattern of eating, U.S. News & World Report also says this diet is ranked best because it’s family-friendly, budget-friendly, planet-friendly, vegan- or vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free-friendly, halal-friendly, kosher-friendly, and low-fat. In a nutshell, eating this way is completely accessible no matter your dietary restrictions and budget.

Mediterranean Diet

That being said, adhering to a Mediterranean diet doesn’t mean you would need to become vegan or vegetarian. However, as a meat eater, you would need to eat red meat, saturated fat, and other highly processed foods very rarely, as your protein should come from nutrient-heavy ingredients like vegetables, fruits, legumes, seafood, and extra virgin oil. Meanwhile, poultry, cheese, eggs, and yogurt would need to be consumed in moderation.

RELATED: Lean Protein Recipes You Can Recreate at Home 

The easiest way to get started on this diet is by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes like lentils, which are completely inexpensive. Health experts also advise people to incorporate more whole grains, beans, and nuts in their daily meals, with fish making an appearance at least twice a week.

RELATED: 5 Lentil Recipes From Around the World 

Mediterranean Diet

All in all, it’s important to remember that there are no strict rules to follow in this diet. After all, people from Monaco have different cultural meals from the 21 other Mediterranean countries. You have the freedom to explore what recipes work best for you and your health, so long as you remember to eat what you need to eat, and eat less of what you need to eat less of.

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