I agree with the recent US News & World Report which ranked the Mediterranean Diet as the best overall, from among 35 diets evaluated by a panel of experts. Whether you’re a professional athlete or someone just looking to eat healthier, this is a well-balanced, foundational way of eating.
Here are some reasons why I like the Mediterranean Diet:
- It doesn’t leave out macronutrients. It emphasizes foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes, flavorful spices and herbs. Eggs, poultry, cheese and other dairy are eaten in moderation. Save the red meat and sweets for special occasions. Plus, you can enjoy a glass of red wine now and then, if you choose to imbibe.
- It is low in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and high in omega-3s. That’s in great part due to its focus on eating fish and seafood at least a couple times a week, and on consuming only healthy oils. While most people think of olive oil in connection with the Mediterranean Diet, you can also confidently consume Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil, ghee and even butter. It’s taking time for experts to catch up with the science: Saturated fats aren’t the enemy and play a role in a healthy diet.
- This diet is flexible. There isn’t just one Mediterranean Diet. The Italians, Spanish, French and Greeks all eat differently. But their diets share common principles.
- There are many health benefits associated with the Mediterranean Diet. These include heart and brain health, diabetes control/risk reduction, weight loss and reducing the risks of other chronic diseases including cancer.
As with any diet, you’ll want to avoid processed foods that can cause blood sugar spikes. They can lead to chronic, low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance.
And please be wise about supplementation. Choose essential amino acids over branched amino acids including leucine, isoleucine and valine. It’s too easy to get into trouble when you disturb your body’s natural ratio, leading to such symptoms as unnecessary fatigue. Get those nutrients from food not a supplement bottle.