The U.S. News & World Report has released its best diets for 2024, and once again, the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes whole foods, healthy fats, beans, and greens, with very few animal products, has been crowned number one. It is the seventh year in a row that the diet—which is influenced by the traditional eating habits of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, and Spain—has been given the top spot.

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“The Mediterranean diet focuses on diet quality rather than a single nutrient or food group,” notes the publication, which compiled its 2024 diet list with the help of more than 40 nationally recognized dietitians. “Numerous studies have shown that it reduces the risk of chronic health conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes while promoting longevity and improving quality of life.”

Other diets in the top 10 this year include the flexitarian diet, which also emphasizes plant-based foods and limits meat to occasional consumption, and the vegan diet. The latter can be one of the healthiest ways to eat if it prioritizes whole foods, but it can also rely on packaged and processed foods, notes the U.S. News & World Report.

VegNews.pastadish.unsplashUnsplash

Why is the Mediterranean diet so good for you?

In the world’s Blue Zones, five regions where people appear to live the longest, healthiest lives, a plant-forward, Mediterranean-style approach to diet is common. And multiple studies have backed this way of living.

For example, last year, one study suggested that the Mediterranean lifestyle—which includes not only diet, but also physical activity, rest, and social habits—may lower the risk of mortality from all causes by 29 percent. In particular, the research looked at cancer and concluded that the diet may reduce the risk of dying from the disease by 28 percent.

Two further studies noted that the Mediterranean diet may help reduce the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and support toddler cognitive development.

“Starting [a Blue Zone lifestyle] at any age will make you live longer,” said Dan Buettner, the National Geographic explorer and Blue Zones expert, last year. “At age 60, you could potentially add six extra years. And at age 20, if you’re a male, you could potentially add 13 extra years if you live in a Blue Zone lifestyle as opposed to a standard American lifestyle.”

U.S. News & World Report also clarifies that “Americanized” versions of Mediterranean food do not qualify for an authentic, healthy Mediterranean diet. “Deep-fried cheese and falafel, heavy pasta dishes, and a lot of beef and pork is anything but healthy,” it notes.

Healthy, plant-forward Mediterranean dishes can be delicious, too, though. Below, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite recipes as proof.

8 delicious Mediterranean recipes to try now

VegNews.PerfectFalafelPocketsTim Aitkins

1 Perfect Vegan Falafel Pita Pockets With Tahini Sauce

This classic Mediterranean dish calls for tender handmade falafel, fresh vegetables, and creamy tahini. It’s delicious, packed with flavor, and incredibly nourishing. Top tip: for perfectly moist falafel, soak the chickpeas for 24 hours first.
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VegNews.ParmigianaPeter Egan

2 Vegan Parmigiana di Melanzane

An exquisite vegan parmigiana di melanzane only requires a few, fresh plant-based whole foods. Olive oil, tomatoes, and eggplant are, of course, vital. To keep this dish whole food-focused, you could opt to skip the vegan cheese (or make your own from home!).
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VegNews.TomatoFritterLuke Albert

3 Vegan Santorini Tomato Fritters

Enjoy the essence of the Greek islands without having to leave your house with these ultra-crispy tomato fritters. They’re best served with creamy, cooling vegan yogurt and a juicy squeeze of lemon.
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VegNews.ItalianTrayLuce Hosier

4 Easy Vegan Italian Vegetable Sheet Pan Bake

In this simple, tasty sheet pan recipe, a fresh, light tomato marinade coats eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and onions. It’s a nutritious, six-vegetable meal that’s perfect for midweek.
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VegNews.GreekCauliflowerSaladSophie Viau



5 Easy Vegan Greek Cauliflower Salad

Inspired by Greek salad, this quick, simple, super-satisfying dish, made with crunchy cauliflower, bell peppers, and chickpeas, is the perfect springtime lunch. It’s a delicious mix of tangy, juicy, and fresh.
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VegNews.TurkishPideAmerica’s Test Kitchen

6Turkish Flatbread With Eggplant and Tomatoes

This traditional Turkish flatbread, characterized by its unique canoe shape, is filled with a nutritious mix of eggplant, red bell pepper, and tomatoes. For authentic flavor, it’s accented with smoky paprika and mint.
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VegNews.CarrotsRuth Barnes

7 Vegan Moroccan Spicy Carrot Salad

The Mediterranean diet takes influence from more than just Europe—Morocco also shares a border with the Mediterranean Sea. One way to savor the flavors of the North African country is by whipping up this simple, lightly spicy carrot salad. It boasts earthy, smoky notes combined with delicious garlic-zesty flavors.
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VegNews.PaellaErin Scott

8Mixed Grain Vegetable Paella 

Paella is Spain’s national dish, and while it’s traditionally made with meat, it’s easy to make it without. This mixed-grain version is loaded with nourishing vegetables, including cauliflower, fennel, peppers, and olives. If you like, you can also add in vegan sausage pieces (but this part is optional!).
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