U.S. News and World Report has released their annual ranking of diets, and the Mediterranean diet has topped the list for the fifth year in a row.
The Mediterranean diet — an eating pattern that emulates how people in the Mediterranean region have traditionally eaten, with a focus on foods like olive oil, fish and vegetables — was named best diet overall for 2022, as well as best diet for healthy eating, easiest diet to follow, best heart-healthy diet, best plant-based diet and best diet for diabetes.
“There’s no real surprise why that is,” Gretel Schueller, managing editor of U.S. News and World Report, told “Good Morning America.” “It’s healthy. It’s delicious. It’s nutritious, and it’s really easy to follow.”
Overall, the diets that ranked in the top five of this year’s list — Mediterranean, DASH, Flexitarian, MIND, TLC, Mayo Clinic, WW and Volumetrics — have consistently ranked near the top of U.S. News and World Report’s list for the past several years.
Here is a breakdown of the top three diets in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 Best Diets Overall ranking.
1. Mediterranean Diet
U.S. News and World Report called the Mediterranean diet a “well-balanced eating plan” and pointed to research that suggests the diet helps prevent some chronic diseases and increases longevity.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil and flavorful herbs and spices; fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, according to U.S. News and World Report.
2. DASH Diet
Tied at number two is the DASH diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, and was originally started by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) as a diet to help reduce blood pressure.
The plan focuses on fruit, vegetables, whole grain, lean protein and low-fat dairy and eliminates foods high in fat and sugar-sweetened drinks and sweets, according to U.S. News and World Report.
“DASH discourages foods that are high in saturated fats like fatty meats. It’s not a restrictive diet, it’s nutritionally sound,” said Schueller. “There’s a tremendous amount of science to back up its effectiveness.”
The NHLBI publishes free guides on the plan so you can see if it is right for you.
2. Flexitarian Diet
The flexitarian diet encourages people to try alternative meat options, like tofu, but leaves room for flexibility if you can’t quite fully give up meat. The diet was promoted by dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner in a 2009 book that says you can reap the benefits of a plant-heavy diet even if you eat meat occasionally, according to U.S. News and World Report.
This plant-heavy diet focuses on adding five food groups — “new meat,” fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy and sugar and spices — to your diet, instead of taking foods away.
The “new meat” food group includes tofu, beans, lentils, peas, nuts, seeds and eggs, according to U.S. News and World Report.
“For those who want to sort of be more plant forward, this allows them to do that while still having their little meat treats when they want them,” said Schueller.
To kick your diet into high gear, registered dietitian and nutritionist Maya Feller shared some easy dishes from all three top diets. See them below:
Vegetable Tagine for the Mediterranean diet
low sodium chickpeas
for garnish fresh mint and parsley
serve with couscous or flatbread of your choice
Haittian Soup Joumou for the DASH diet
Adapted from a recipe originally published by The New York Times
½ cup Epis seasoning or Trinidadian Green Seasoning
1 pound boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
¾ cup lime juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 scallions, diced
1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes roughly chopped
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 winter squash, peeled and cut into 3-inch cubes
5 medium Idaho potato, roughly chopped
5 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 habanero pepper
For the dumplings (optional):
1 ½ cups einkorn flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of flakey salt
⅛ teaspoon fresh black pepper
Ripe avocado for garnish
Marinate the beef in the green seasoning and lime juice overnight
In a large heavy-bottomed pot add olive oil, onion, garlic, celery, scallion, parsley, and shallots over medium heat. Sautee for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are soft.
Add tomatoes, broth, squash, potato, carrots, habanero, and marinated meat, cover and cook for 60-90 minutes allowing the flavors to come together.
Meanwhile, make the dumplings by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl and hand mixing. Add water, two tablespoons at a time, as needed. Take a golf ball-sized portion of dough and roll it between your hands until it becomes elongated. Drop them into the soup one by one and cook for another 15-20 minutes.
To serve, spoon a heaping portion into a bowl and top with ½ ripe avocado, enjoy.
Multigrain rice bowl with grilled chicken and mixed vegetables for the Flexitarian diet
Sauteed mushrooms and chives
Mediterranean diet ranked best diet for 5th year in a row originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com