The Mediterranean Diet has, for the third year in a row, been named the healthiest overall diet by the annual ranking from U.S. News & World Report.And if you dig into the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, it makes sense. It’s good for your brain, heart, and gut, and according to Alyssa Dweck, M.D., it’s a great diet for healthy aging.Dweck is an OB-GYN, so she’s worked closely with plenty of women through the stages of perimenopause and menopause. She recently joined us on episode 141 of the mindbodygreen podcast (be sure to check out the full episode), where we asked her what she tells her patients dealing with all that comes along with aging.Dweck was quick to emphasize the importance of lifestyle, not just your diet. “Typically, in gyno world, we recommend the Mediterranean diet,” she says. “I’m an advocate of a lifestyle diet rather than a diet that you do for a couple of weeks and then go off of it. Lifestyle is key.”The Mediterranean diet is, indeed, not just a diet, as it also encourages an active lifestyle and healthy social relationships. People who live in Blue Zones like near the Mediterranean Sea, after all, enjoy happy hour with their friends often. But Dweck reminds those suffering from perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes or issues sleeping, should really moderate alcohol consumption. She, of course, also recommends exercise: “With age and hormone changes that come along with a woman’s life cycle, we can see changes in metabolism. And we also can see diminishment in the lean body mass, or muscle tissue, which can lead towards weight gain and less energy as age progresses.”Good news there: A Mediterranean Diet was found to boost athletic performance in a recent study, suggesting the lifestyle is good for many reasons.Ultimately, “we see many people who age gracefully in the Mediterranean population,” Dweck adds. “So, I think we really can take a lesson from that.”When it comes to managing our health as we get older, there are a so many ways we can approach diet and fitness. But time and time again, the principles of the Mediterranean Diet come up as tried-and-true ways to get the most out of our health. To get started with a Mediterranean lifestyle, check out our 7-day Mediterranean diet meal plan.