Fruit and vegetable heavy diets rank as best overall
Which diet is THE BEST? According to the 2018 U.S. News & World Report Best Diet rankings, an expert panel rated the Mediterranean #1 best overall out of 40 different diets. There was a tie for first place this year and a common theme among the top diets is the emphasis on consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains along with lean meats. Both are also considered easy to follow which is great news, just in time for Heart Health Month.
The Mediterranean diet specifically, has been associated with cardiovascular protection among other benefits such as longevity, improved blood flow and kidney health. As published in BMC Medicine, researchers evaluated diets of almost 24,000 non-Mediterranean participants to understand how compliance with the Mediterranean diet pyramid related to cardiovascular disease and death. Diets were evaluated via food frequency questionnaire and over a 7 year period they found a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and death with higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet.
Not familiar with the diet? Main principles include a focus on vegetables at mealtime, with meats and starches as the side dishes. Instead of chicken with vegetables, think of having grilled vegetables with pieces of grilled or marinated chicken on the side or a pasta primavera filled with vegetables with meat as a garnish. Greek or plain yogurts are also included. Seafood is enjoyed at least twice a week, and a meatless meal makes the lineup weekly as well. Butter is replaced by olive oil; refined grains are replaced by whole grains such as barley, faro or brown rice. Lastly dessert is always fresh or dried fruit. These small changes add nutritional elements such as heart healthy fats and fiber that help promote satiety and keep us feeling our best.
Some of our Mediterranean favorites include:
Pastalicious Arugula Salad – Make ahead and enjoy for an easy lunch.
Mediterranean Tuna Casserole – A quick, warm and satisfying dinner that’ll be ready in 20 minutes.
Minestrone Soup – Make ahead and then freeze in individual portions making lunchtime decisions as easy as a Mediterranean breeze!
Published February 1, 2018