The Mediterranean diet enjoys the distinction of being ranked the No. 1 diet, according to U.S. News and World Report rankings.

This diet is considered both sustainable and healthy, making it a prime candidate for people who want to try to live a healthier lifestyle.

Here’s a closer look at what the Mediterranean diet is and what its benefits are.

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The rules of the Mediterranean diet

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that draws from the cuisines of countries like Greece and Spain near the Mediterranean Sea, according to Healthline.

Some examples of traditional Mediterranean diet recipes are:

What are the 8 components of the Mediterranean diet?

The eight components of the Mediterranean diet are listed by Queensland Health, including:

  • Whole grains.
  • Vegetables.
  • Herbs, spices, onion and garlic.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Fruit.
  • Legumes.
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Fish and seafood.

The Cleveland Clinic lists eight components of the Mediterranean diet, too:

  • Moderate portions of cheese and yogurt.
  • Little, if any, meat (poultry, like chicken, over red meat).
  • Little, if any, sweets or butter.
  • Moderate portions of fish.
  • Lots of whole grains.
  • Lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts.
  • Extra virgin olive oil for healthy fat.
  • If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start drinking.

Mediterranean diet benefits

The Mediterranean diet has several health benefits. It can lower risk of stroke in women, improve gut health, lower risk of dementia, reduce high blood pressure, aid in weight regulation and may also reduce the risk of some cancers, Forbes reported.

Can you eat eggs on the Mediterranean diet?

Yes, eggs can be eaten on the Mediterranean diet. Shakshuka is a dish from North Africa and the Middle East that has eggs, per Downshiftology. It’s considered a Mediterranean diet-friendly food. So is a frittata, which also has eggs.

Are potatoes OK on the Mediterranean diet?

Potatoes are considered a good food to eat on the Mediterranean diet. “Potatoes can often be a great source of potassium, and it contains plenty of great vitamins that will help you stay healthy,” according to the Mediterranean Diet Guru.

Roasting potatoes with olive oil and some fresh herbs like oregano is a good way to eat potatoes within the parameters of the Mediterranean diet. You could also try making a loaded baked potato with a twist, using this recipe from the Mediterranean Dish.

What cheese is OK on the Mediterranean diet?

Moderate portions of cheese are OK to eat while following the Mediterranean diet. Some examples of cheeses that can be eaten are feta, Swiss, ricotta, Parmesan, cotija and Brie, according to Eating Well.