The start of a new year always brings high aspirations of setting goals and reaching new objectives. Of the many resolutions people have—diet and weight loss tends to be among the most commonly held by many individuals. Although a number of diets exist ranging from keto to vegan to low-FODMAP—one diet ranked as the best for the fourth year in a row.
Hi, I’m Sean Torbati. While I believe following a natural and well-rounded diet is the key to a healthy and happy lifestyle—it can be difficult to focus on a single diet for overall health. Many of the best diets have a few commonalities between them including reducing or eliminating processed foods and focusing meals around fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, and nuts.
However, one diet ranked as the BEST diet of 2021 for the fourth consecutive year—the Mediterranean Diet.
Let’s take a look at the Mediterranean Diet in closer detail and why it may be the best choice for you.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
Known for being diet originating in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea—the diet offers a range of health benefits for individuals who follow it including:
- Weight loss
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Better brain function
- Prevention of cancer and other diseases
- Diabetes prevention
Although the Mediterranean Diet is more of an eating pattern as opposed to a structured diet—it does follow a certain set of generic principles and guidelines. While the diet itself does not impose caloric limitations or specific foods, it does emphasize eating certain varieties of food including:
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
- Fish and seafood
- Limited amounts of red wine
As you can see the diet itself is based around whole foods with limited amounts of processed foods and alcoholic beverages. Although not entirely plant-based—the diet itself does lend itself to lesser amounts of meat compared to other diets.
Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet has been named the best diet of 2021 due to its numerous health benefits and various other benefits. People who undergo the Mediterranean Diet may be able to enjoy improved health and longevity due to the various benefits including reduced risks of heart disease, high bad (LDL) cholesterol, and type-2 diabetes.
A study looked at a total of nearly 7500 people between the ages of 55 and 80 years old at a high risk of cardiovascular disease. Individuals undergoing the Mediterranean Diet while supplementing with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events by up to 31% (1).
Another study looked at 372 individuals with a high risk of heart disease over a 3 month period and found that people who followed the Meditteranean diet experienced reductions in bad cholesterol and improvements in other heart disease risk factors (2).
Lastly, a study assessed 418 people without diabetes over the course of 4 years. The Mediterranean diet was found to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 52% (3). It’s clear that the Mediterranean Diet provides an array of health benefits for individuals that follow it.
Should You Follow the Mediterranean Diet?
Many people get inundated with the idea of following a specific type of diet and expecting an unrealistic result. The problem is some get so caught up in the details they forget the fundamentals of following a healthy diet.
The Mediterranean diet can help individuals adhere to a healthy style of eating based around whole foods. The main key to remember is that limiting consumption of processed foods, excessive alcohol, and processed sugars can help potentially avoid diseases, ailments, and shortened lifespans.
If you have any additional questions related to the Mediterranean diet—feel free to reach out to me with any feedback or support. I’m here to help you reach your goals into 2021 and beyond!
Sean Torbati - PN Certified Nutritionist | EXOS Phase 3 Training Specialist
Co-Founder, Ambrosia Collective