As a kid, the goal for most of us was to eat as much candy and cookies as possible without getting in trouble. And then that ends. Reality eventually demands that we make more thoughtful decisions about how we eat. Whether the goal is to look your best, ward off cardiovascular disease, lose fat and not muscle, or increase your energy level, the choices are dizzying. Dr. Google provides dozens of suggestions: Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Whole 30, Vegan, Paleo, to name a few. Each program makes the same promise, to help you lose weight, improve vitality, and keep you fit. How do we make a sound choice? Harvard researchers suggest that The Mediterranean diet helps you live longer and lose weight. If that is not enough to convince you, it has been endorsed by several celebrities as the secret to keeping them camera ready and healthy.

The Mediterranean Diet recommends that you eat 7-10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Carbohydrates should be consumed in the form of whole grains (look for the whole grain food stamp.) Protein should be mostly in the form of fish and chicken with red meat consisting of no more than 1-2 servings per month. Dairy ought to be replaced by healthier fats (pass on the butter!) such as olive and canola oil. And, here comes the fun part, red wine should be consumed in moderation to provide valuable antioxidants.

Research shows compelling results when you stick to this plan. There is substantial evidence that those who follow the Mediterranean diet retain brain power as they age. Remember all those brain cells you lost in college? This diet also helps you reduce brain shrinkage and retain brain cells. Data shows the diet prevents macular degeneration, a popular cause of age related blindness, by more than a third. Science has also demonstrated that those who follow the Mediterranean diet have reduced rates of one of the more aggressive forms of breast cancer. The diet has been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease and improve diabetes and limit the rate of osteoporosis and fractures. It has even been shown to improve life span.

All that being said, for many of us it is not enough to have a healthy brain and arteries and live longer. We want to look great as well. Evidence shows the Mediterranean Diet can help you do just that. Just ask Jennifer Garner, Heidi Klum, Elizabeth Hurley, Penelope Cruz, Brooke Burke, or Cameron Diaz. The diet helps you to lose weight, particularly hard to lose belly fat, and those that continue to follow the guidelines maintain the weight loss.