What is the Healthiest Diet in the World?

Are you looking to lead a longer and healthier life? Are you wondering what is the world's healthiest diet? Many cultures around the world have their own unique diets that not only promote longevity but also enhance physical and mental well-being. From the Mediterranean Diet to the Nordic Diet, each of these diet plans offers a unique set of benefits that can help keep your body fit and your mind sharp. In this article, we will explore the different healthiest diets from around the world to discover which is truly the best for long-term sustainability and longevity.

The Importance of Ageing Well

A recent World Health Organisation-based ageing report predicts that the number of people aged 60 or older will increase fourfold in the next 40 years. This current data suggests that there will be almost 2.1 billion people in this age group by 2050, with most of them living in developing countries.

The mere fact that we as humans are living longer does not necessarily mean we are living a better quality of life. Therefore, it is important for both health professionals and the general public to be aware of what impacts us across the lifespan as our older population increases.

Addressing modifiable factors, like diet and lifestyle is a key element to promoting a longer lifespan and better healthspan for everyone. Let's take a look at some of the world's healthiest diets and what they offer in health benefits.

various foods from the mediterranean diet spread across wooden planks

The Mediterranean Diet

Sitting at the top, for very good reason, is The Mediterranean Diet.

This dietary approach has been recognised as one of the healthiest in the world. It focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, olive oil, fish, some red meat and a moderate amount of red wine. The combination of these nutrients provides a well-balanced foundation of healthy fats, essential vitamins and minerals and a focus on fresh and local produce that collectively have a wealth of benefits. 

The Mediterranean Diet is possibly the most anti-inflammatory diet in the world. This is largely thanks to the abundance of omega-3 found in fish, seafood, olives, nuts and seeds and plant polyphenols which confer anti-ageing, anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects. Based on a recent study published in the journal Nutrients, eating more in line with the Mediterranean diet is directly linked to improved sleep quantity and better sleep quality.

A compelling and revealing study on the Mediterranean diet was published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Ageing in 2021. This comprehensive analysis praised this dietary approach as offering the following benefits:

  • Prevention of bone loss
  • Retention of muscle mass
  • Prevention of cardiovascular disease
  • Preservation of sexual capacity and fertility
  • Prevention of cognitive decline
  • Prevention of immune system impairment
  • Reduced generalised inflammation

The Mediterranean diet and lifestyle also promote frequent, albeit low-impact physical activity and an emphasis on social well-being and connectedness. These factors help to facilitate an overall healthy lifestyle and improve health outcomes across the lifespan. The Mediterranean Diet is certainly one of the best diets for good health and longevity.

The Nordic Diet

The Nordic Diet is a plant-based diet that focuses on local, seasonal produce with an emphasis on fish, whole grains, and legumes. This diet centres around healthy proteins such as salmon, herring, mackerel and cod while providing plenty of fibre from fruits and vegetables. The Nordic Diet provides a balanced approach to dieting for health, as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish and seafood and promotes sustainable farming practices in the Scandinavian and Nordic countries. Because the Nordic diet focuses on consuming what’s in season, it doesn’t break the bank. Seasonal produce tends to be more affordable because it’s more widely available. Not to mention more delicious as well!

A literature review published in the journal Nutrients endorsed a healthy Nordic diet as being similar to the Mediterranean diet and as such, affords people many comparable health benefits. According to the research, the Nordic diet can remarkably reduce systemic inflammation and associated chronic diseases, thereby improving health outcomes and increasing lifespan. This diet is one of the world's healthiest diets and celebrates local, ethical farming and food production. This diet is a worthwhile entry on the healthiest diets list.

The DASH Diet

The DASH diet stands for the 'Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension'. It holds a recurring World Report position as one of the healthiest diets for the past decade or so. This diet emphasises fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products while limiting added sugar and excess sodium. There is also a focus on variety and portion control, which can be beneficial for those struggling with overweight or obesity.

Is The DASH Diet the healthiest diet in the world, however? Well, if you have hypertension (high blood pressure), the evidence supporting this diet is robust. Over half a million study participants revealed that those who adhered to The DASH Diet protocols had a 12% reduction in stroke and cardiovascular event risk. The DASH Diet is a great option for those looking to promote their health and longevity.

The MIND Diet

Now we start to see some overlap between dietary interventions. The MIND Diet is the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND). It is effectively a combination of these two dietary plans and aims to promote optimal cognitive function and brain health. Specifically, cerebrovascular and cardiovascular health are the main targets for treatment with the MIND Diet approach. This diet is specifically designed to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's Disease and other age-related mental illnesses. It focuses on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, berries, leafy greens, nuts, olive oil, and fish.

A systematic review published recently in 2022 found that The MIND Diet is more effective than other diets that are abundant in plant-based foods as far as better cognition, memory and planning are concerned. So, if you're already adopting some of the principles of the Mediterranean Diet and DASH Diet, you're on track for better brain health and longevity.

Assortment of healthy food for clean eating flexitarian mediterranean diet

The Flexitarian Diet

Finally, the Flexitarian Diet is a great option for those looking to improve their health without completely eliminating animal products from their meals. This diet focuses on plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds while maintaining a flexible approach to eating animal proteins in moderation. The Flexitarian Diet is great for those looking to incorporate healthful elements from other diets into their lives.

This dietary approach has demonstrated positive effects on weight management, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. An evidence-based literature review of the Flexitarian Diet shows that it could potentially be beneficial in managing inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease. The Flexitarian Diet is easy to adopt and confers the health benefits of a vegetarian diet without some of the restrictions of not eating fish or meat. With this flexibility, the Flexitarian Diet is easy to stick to for long periods.

Good Health Comes From Many Dietary Approaches

In conclusion, many different diets can be beneficial for promoting health and longevity. Whether it's the Mediterranean Diet, the Nordic Diet, the DASH Diet, the MIND Diet or the Flexitarian Diet, each of these diets offers its own unique set of benefits. By carefully considering your lifestyle and dietary preferences, you can find a diet that works best for you and helps to promote a long and healthy life.

By adopting one of these 'world's healthiest diets', you can take a proactive approach to your well-being that will have lasting benefits. Whether it's reducing inflammation, improving cholesterol levels, or reducing the risk of cognitive decline, each of these diet plans offers its own unique set of advantages. So if you're looking to live a longer and healthier life, start with one of these 5 healthiest diets in the world and reap the rewards!

World's Healthiest Diet Recipes


DASH Diet-Style Baked Chicken with Steamed Vegetables and Brown Rice


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and bake them for 25-30 minutes, or until they're cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.
  4. While the chicken is baking, prepare the brown rice. In a saucepan, combine the brown rice and low-sodium chicken broth.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Steam the mixed vegetables until they're tender-crisp, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. To serve, divide the cooked brown rice between two plates, top each with a baked chicken breast, and add a serving of steamed vegetables on the side.

Flexitarian Diet-Style Chickpea and Quinoa Salad


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the quinoa and water.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the salad ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and parsley.
  5. To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  6. Once the quinoa is done cooking, fluff it with a fork and let it cool slightly.
  7. Add the cooked quinoa to the salad ingredients and toss everything together.
  8. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss again until everything is well coated.
  9. Serve the salad immediately, or place it in the fridge and eat it within 3 days.

Mediterranean-Style Artichoke, Sardine, and Tomato Salad


  • 1 can of sardines, drained and flaked
  • 1 can of artichokes, drained and quartered
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flaked sardines, quartered artichokes, cherry tomatoes, and sliced red onion.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the chopped parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper until well combined.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss everything together until well-coated.
  4. Let the salad sit for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavours to meld together.
  5. Serve the salad immediately, garnished with additional parsley if desired.

MIND Diet-Style Berry and Walnut Salad with Grilled Salmon


  • 2 sustainably-caught wild salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups mixed greens (such as spinach, kale, and arugula)
  • 1 cup dried berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat your grill or grill pan over medium heat.
  2. Brush the salmon fillets with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the salmon for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until it's cooked to your desired level of doneness.
  4. While the salmon is grilling, prepare the salad. In a large bowl, combine the mixed greens, dried berries, and chopped walnuts.
  5. To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  6. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss everything together until well-coated.
  7. Divide the salad between two plates and top each one with a grilled salmon fillet.