The US News & World Report just ranked the Mediterranean diet as the best diet overall as of January 4th, 2021. Those who work with me know I don’t preach a specific diet- mostly habits, research, and individualized nutrition. That being said, I’d love to shed some light on some of the benefits of this top ranked way of eating.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes olive oil, avocados, fish, nuts, and other foods with beneficial fat. The brain is 60% fat, which is why these fats are SO important for brain health. Otherwise, these fats can help reduce inflammation. This could be cardiovascular inflammation, reducing pain from injury, gut inflammation, and more.
The Mediterranean diet is plant based (and no, that does not mean no animal products). This way of eating includes berries, anti-oxidant rich vegetables, and red wine. This helps reduce oxidative stress, or cellular aging. A common analogy I use is a rotten apple is comparable to a cell under oxidative stress, vs. a fresh apple would be a cell with antioxidants. Reducing oxidative stress can help with skin health, reducing inflammation, and reduce risk for certain diseases such as cancer.
The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are high in fiber. Fiber is generally one major pillar I have to work on with clients, and I generally recommend at least 25 g per day. Fiber can help eliminate “toxins”, or essentially substances in the body that shouldn’t be there. It also slows the rate in which glucose can enter the bloodstream and speeds up the rate at which food exits the body, thus helping with blood sugar stabilization.
All in all, characteristics of the Mediterranean diet are beneficial for longevity, recovery, weight management, and cognition. Any more questions about this way of eating? Ask!