The Mediterranean diet has, yet again, topped the charts in U.S. News & World Report‘s annual ranking of the best diets.

In addition to being the No. 1 best diet overall, the Mediterranean diet also topped the lists for “Best Diabetes Diets,” “Best Diets for Healthy Eating,” and “Easiest Diets to Follow.”

The Mediterranean Diet is modeled on the diets of those in nations along the Mediterranean Sea, and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes with small portions of meats and fish.

How does the Mediterranean Diet help support balanced blood sugar?

Studies have linked an adherence to the Mediterranean diet with a decreased risk of type two diabetes and improved heart health. For those with diabetes, it has also been linked to improved glycemic controls and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to some research, the link between diabetes and the Mediterranean diet may have to do with the replacements of “bad” fats with healthier varieties of unsaturated fats. Strict adherence to the diet will also includes replacing some carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates, with whole grains and produce which can help manage blood sugar.

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Why is the Mediterranean diet best for healthy eating overall?

This diet has been linked to health benefits for decades, with the first report being published in the 1970s. But the real strength of this diet lies in how long it’s been used, because in those Mediterranean nations that inspired it it’s nothing other than the norm.

The list of health benefits of following a Mediterranean diet include increased longevity, better metabolism, a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, improved memory and mood, reduced inflammation, and better gut health.

What makes it so easy to follow?

The diet is not overly complicated, and in essence just promotes eating a balanced diet that prioritizes vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains. It is not especially different from different global standard diets, meaning people who choose it for health do not end up feeling deprived and do not experience the hunger that can make other, more restrictive diets, harder to follow.

Because this diet isn’t a rigid plan, it’s naturally easier to follow than those that are more restrictive. There are no food groups explicitly banned (it even encourages enjoying some wine), and there’s no inherent limit on how many calories you consume each day. For people who like to cook, this diet also presents a wide array of cuisines to draw inspiration, meaning the fatigue that can come from diets with more restrictions.

If you’re thinking of trying it out, check out our guide to the diet (complete with a meal plan for your first week) and this grocery list to help you get started.

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