U.S. News and World Report gathered a panel of nationally recognized experts where they compared 41 different diets and ranked them based on how easy it is to follow, its ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, its nutritional completeness, its safety and its potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease. Do you want to guess what diet took the top prize?
The Mediterranean diet ranked #1 for 2019. This diet is based on the traditional eating habits of people living in the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. In the 1940’s, researchers began looking at the Mediterranean eating pattern when they noticed those living in the area were living longer than Americans, and with much less chronic disease. Research consistently shows the Mediterranean eating plan is effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and overall mortality. Furthermore, a growing body of research supports the diet as a way to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Credible organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association, recognize the Mediterranean diet as a healthy, sound eating plan.
The Mediterranean eating plan consists of mostly plant-based foods. Each meal is based around fruit, vegetables, grains (mostly whole grains), olive oil, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. It recommends eating fish or seafood twice a week with moderate portions of poultry, dairy, and red wine. The diet lists red meats and sweets as foods to eat less often. In addition, there’s heavy emphasis on drinking plenty of water, daily exercise and sharing meals with others. If you’re looking for an eating plan to follow, check out the Mediterranean diet.
Mediterranean Bean Salad (Printable PDF)
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon dried basil
⅛ teaspoon pepper
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
In a large bowl, combine beans, celery, red pepper, and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, basil, and pepper. Add oil mixture to bean mixture and toss to coat. Serve over lettuce and sprinkle with cheese.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 250 calories, 10 grams fat, 570 milligrams sodium, 31 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 11 grams protein
Source: Caitlin Huth, Nutrition & Wellness Educator, Kirby’s Kitchen series, 2013