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What to know about the Mediterranean diet

For the seventh straight year, the Mediterranean diet has won the title of best overall diet in U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of best diets.

The diet is endorsed by the American Heart Association for its cardiovascular benefits. The diet was shown to reduce the risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth and stillbirth when followed in pregnancy, according to one study.

A study published in February in the journal JAMA Neurology found the popular diet may be one aspect in protecting the brain from signs of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil and flavorful herbs and spices; fish and seafood at least twice a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

“Any plan that cuts out an entire food group or fruit or dairy for non-medical reasons is a red flag and it’s the reason the Mediterranean diet is always such a big winner,” Gretel Schueller, managing editor of U.S. News and World Report, previously told ABC News. “The Mediterranean diet is healthy, it’s sustainable, it’s a flavorful way to eat and it’s adaptable.”

If you’re looking to start the Mediterranean diet, here is what you need to know.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is not one way of eating but a broad term used to describe the eating habits popularized in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, Greece, Morocco, Spain and Lebanon.

The way of eating focuses on the quality of foods consumed rather than focusing on a single nutrient or food group, according to U.S. News and World Report.

PHOTO: Vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains, fish and <a href=olive oil make up the majority of
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