The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries like Italy and Greece back in the year 1960.
Researchers noted that these people were exceptionally healthy compared to Americans and had a low risk of many killer diseases.
Numerous studies have now shown that the Mediterranean diet can cause weight loss and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death.
There is no one “right” way to do this diet. There are many countries around the Mediterranean sea and they didn’t all eat the same things.
This article describes the diet that was typically prescribed in the studies that showed it to be an effective way of eating.
Consider all of this as a general guideline, not something written in stone. The plan can be adjusted to individual needs and preferences.
Eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.
Eat in Moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
Eat Only Rarely: Red meat.
Don’t Eat: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.
You should avoid these unhealthy foods and ingredients:
You MUST read ingredients lists if you want to avoid these unhealthy ingredients.
You should base your diet on these healthy, unprocessed Mediterranean foods.
Whole, single ingredient foods are the key to good health.
Exactly which foods belong in the Mediterranean diet is controversial, partly because there is such variety between different countries.
The diet prescribed in the studies is high in plant foods, and relatively low in animal foods.
However, eating fish and seafood is recommended at least twice a week.
The Mediterranean lifestyle also involves regular physical activity, sharing meals with other people and enjoying life.
Water should be your go-to beverage on a Mediterranean diet.
This diet also includes moderate amounts of red wine, around 1 glass per day.
However, this is completely optional and wine should be avoided by anyone who has alcoholism or problems controlling their consumption.
Coffee and tea are also completely acceptable, but avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices, which are very high in sugar.
This video shows some of the dietary habits in Crete, the Greek island that inspired the researchers that first noted the exceptional health benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle.
This is a sample menu for one week on the Mediterranean diet.
Feel free to adjust the portions and food choices based on your own needs and preferences.
There is usually no need to count calories or track macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs) on the Mediterranean diet.
You don’t need to eat more than 3 meals per day.
But if you become hungry between meals, then these are acceptable snacks:
It is very simple to make most restaurant meals suitable for the Mediterranean diet.
It is always a good idea to shop at the perimeter of the store, that’s usually where the whole foods are found.
Always try to choose the least processed option. Organic is best, but only if you can easily afford it.
It is best to clear all unhealthy temptations from your home, including sodas, ice cream, candy, pastries, white bread, crackers and all sorts of processed foods.
If you only have good food in your home, you will eat good food.
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You can find a whole world of information about the Mediterranean diet in our site and on the internet, and many great books have been written about it. Try googling “mediterranean recipes” and you will find a ton of great tips for delicious meals.
At the end of the day, the Mediterranean diet is incredibly healthy and satisfying. You won’t be disappointed.