Mediterranean Diet

What Is A Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet originates from the diet largely followed by people in Greece, southern Italy and Spain around the 1940s and 1950s. It has become very popular in recent years, as it became known that the people who followed that diet in those days had the lowest rate of chronic diseases in the world, as well as one of the highest life expectancy in adults, despite the limited availability of medical services back then.

Perhaps what makes this diet attractive to so many people is that it encourages consumption of extra-virgin olive oil, nuts and even some wine, with emphasis on enjoying your food with good company.

The Mediterranean diet can also be adopted by people in order to lose weight.

According to The American Journal of Medicine (source), in a trial involving 998 overweight people, those who went on the Mediterranean diet lost similar amount of weight as those on a low-carb or the American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet, losing between 9 to 22 pounds in 1 year.

What Can You Eat On A Mediterranean Diet?

See below for what you can eat on a Mediterranean diet. If it is not on the list, you should avoid it as much as possible.

For recommended food portions, please refer to the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid below.

Mediterranean Diet List

Below is a list of allowed foods on the Mediterranean diet and guidelines on suggested frequency.

Allowed Daily
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains including whole grain bread, pasta, rice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Legumes such as lentils, beans, peas
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Olives
  • Herbs & spices
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Wine in moderation
  • Plenty of water
Allowed Weekly (2-3 times a week)
  • Fish and other seafood
  • Poultry such as chicken, turkey, quail
  • Eggs
  • Sweets in moderation
Allowed Monthly
  • Red meat

The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

Foods to Avoid When Going on the Mediterranean Diet

When going on this diet, make sure to avoid the following:

  • Trans fats commonly found in margarine, potato chips and other packaged foods
  • Too much red meat
  • Too much butter
  • Too much sugar
  • White bread, white pasta, white rice
  • Heavily processed foods
  • Nuts coated with sugar or honey
  • Processed meats including deli meats

Basically, stick to the foods in the Mediterranean diet list and pyramid!

What Is Great About the Mediterranean Diet

  • The Mediterranean diet is considered to be good for your heart
  • You can eat lots of olive oil. A common way of eating bread under this diet is to dip it in olive oil.
  • By following this diet, you will end up consuming lots of antioxidants from vegetables, fruits and olive oil
  • This diet encourages eating lots of fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids
  • You can drink wine even every day, as long as it is in moderation: up to about ½ glass of red wine a day for women and 1 glass for men

Mediterranean Diet Recipes

Below are some cookbooks you can try to begin your Mediterranean diet:

Click here to see more Mediterranean cookbooks to get started on the Mediterranean diet.

Mediterranean Diet FAQs

Should I exercise to lose weight on the Mediterranean diet?

One element of the Mediterranean diet is to have some form of daily exercise. Therefore, yes, exercise is encouraged under the Mediterranean diet.

Please leave any questions you have about the diet in the Comments section.

Sources:
OLDWAYS
Harvard Medical School

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