Sunday, April 13, 2014

Facts about the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is not as restrictive as diets that limit calories, bread and other carbohydrates. It is
rather a healthy way of eating that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry. As the name implies, the diet mimics foods from Mediterranean countries, such as Greece, Crete, Spain and Italy.

Whole Grains, Fruits and Vegetables

During the first week of the Mediterranean diet, you can eat bread but it should be whole grain bread. The Mediterranean Food Pyramid suggests eating 4 to 6 servings of whole grain bread or other whole grains like couscous, rice, barley or pasta.  Along with whole grains, you should eat 4 to 8 servings of non-starchy vegetables each day. Starchy vegetables to avoid are corn, winter squash, potatoes and peas.  Include 2 to 4 servings of whole fruits in your daily Mediterranean menu. Limit fruit juices because they can contain excess sugar.

Dairy, Legumes and Nuts

When choosing dairy products for your diet plan, select low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. The Mediterranean diet allows you to have 1 to 3 servings per day. The Mediterranean Food Pyramid also recommends eating 1 to 2 servings of legumes and 1 to 2 servings of nuts or seeds each day. These can include sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, all types of tree nuts, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, soybeans and lentils.


Protein for the Mediterranean diet is limited to seafood and poultry. You can eat 2 to 3 servings of seafood per week and 1 to 3 servings of poultry per week. The recommended serving size is about 3 ounces. Select fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines and herring because the fat gives you’re the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Limit red meat to only a couple of servings each month and select only lean meats. Do not eat any processed meats, such as bacon, sausage and deli meats.

Not Just the Food

Fat and alcohol play a role in the Mediterranean diet, as well. Sautee your food using olive oil, rather than butter. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil has anti-inflammatory benefits. You can drink one to two glasses of wine per day when following this diet, preferably with meals.

Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits

According to Harvard Medical School, if you eat healthy Mediterranean foods, it can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and could even live a longer life. Following a Mediterranean diet, could decrease age-related inflammation of your central nervous system, which can lead to chronic ailments and brain disease caused by aging. Eating Mediterranean foods may also improve insulin activity and metabolizing glucose.


The Everything Mediterranean Diet Book: Connie Diekman, Sam Sotiropoulos

Image Credit: By Rmjelley (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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