What is the Mediterranean diet?

Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diets in the world, according to nutritionists and is based on the least possible amount of processed foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil and lean meat.

It is in the attention of the experts, putting it first in several categories, as well as the healthiest of diets, the easiest to follow, the best diet for heart health that includes foods that your body needs and at the same time help you lose weight.

How did the Mediterranean diet appear?

The Mediterranean diet is based on the diet of the Parasouda, followed by the inhabitants of Crete, in order to have a healthy life, the absence of restrictions are stricter, making it suitable for almost anyone.

Since 1950, health professionals have started studies on the nutrition of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean. People in Greece, especially those in Crete, had the longest life expectancy in the world until the 1960s, followed by residents of southern Italy, Spain, and France.

The first, considered the father of the Mediterranean Diet, to suggest the interconnection between diet and disorders such as diabetes, obesity and vascular diseases, was the Italian Lorenzo Piroddi, in 1939, a doctor specialized in nutrition, although such a set of More systematic studies to detect connections between nutrition and cardiovascular disease, was the American doctor Ancel Keysil.

It was he who promoted the Seven-Countries-Study study and research program linking the populations of Crete in Greece and Nicotera in Calabria with their respective diets which, although rich in “vegetable fats” such as olive oil, recorded the index lower number of cardiovascular diseases.

Other data link the Mediterranean diet with the habits of the Spanish, Italians and Greeks in the 1960s, a time when healthy eating was in vogue.

The Mediterranean diet has become known over time not only for how it helps to reduce weight, but also due to the fact that it supports heart health, fights cancer, and keeps
blood sugar level constant.

While most of us are quite familiar with the concept of diet, few know exactly what a proper meal plan should include.

Establishing a meal plan is one of the best ways to meet your nutritional needs and
stay on track toward achieving your goals.

Today, it is essentially the choice of foods and their correct combination for a correct calorie intake. For an adult human being, about 2,500 calories are needed per day: 70% carbohydrates, 20% lipids, and 10% protein.

Basic principles of the Mediterranean diet

As the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world, there is much evidence to testify to its merits in terms of increasing life expectancy and reducing the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other life-threatening diseases.

On the other hand, according to a study carried out in Spain, for every 10,000 people, the Mediterranean diet is associated with a 50% decrease in the risk of depression .

There is countless indisputable evidence that highlights the essential role of the Mediterranean diet in maintaining long-term health and weight control.

What are the benefits of the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is configured as a diet that is certainly dietary, but also absolutely healthy, allowing you to lose weight by continuing to eat everything and most importantly, in a healthy way.

Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

According to studies, adopting a healthy diet helps reduce the risk of heart disease in the long term (the volunteers’ diet was followed for a period of 5 years).

The results of the study showed that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death on the background of heart disease by up to 30%. It is good to know that the people studied also exercised daily and regularly went for a (preventive) medical check-up.

Improves quality of sleep

According to a study in 2019, the Mediterranean diet helps to achieve a restful sleep in the adult population. The results were not identical in the case of the young people who followed the diet.

Stimulates memory and prevents cognitive decline

Rich in beneficial fats for the brain, the Mediterranean diet supports brain activity and prevents dementia.

Helps you lose weight

According to one study, overweight people who follow the Mediterranean diet lose more weight and have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and other conditions associated with cognitive decline.

Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety

The carotenoids in spinach and kale help improve mood. According to the researchers, those who follow a Mediterranean diet have a much lower risk of depression than others.

The Mediterranean diet improves the physical endurance of athletes and helps them achieve better results after just four days.

The scientists made this discovery in an experimental study, which tracked the impact of the Mediterranean diet on athletic performance, using the sequential random cross-sectional technique.

Specifically, they recruited seven women and four men, who were asked to run five kilometers at two different times: once after four days following the Mediterranean diet according to the book and, on another occasion, after another four days of the typical Western diet. .

For the accuracy of the results, the study authors allowed a period of 9-16 days to pass between the two tests.

Higher speed, no extra effort . Without exception, the participants recorded a better time in the chosen sample, after maintaining the Mediterranean diet, running the five kilometers, on average, 6% more strategy than when they were after consuming the Western diet.

Interestingly, the tests did not reveal any difference in heart rate or assessment of perceived exertion.

The Mediterranean diet fights with many serious diseases and is worth following especially for the benefits it has on cardiovascular health , which is a very important advantage: it helps to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

Those who adopt the Mediterranean diet also have a lower risk of cancer, type II diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s . If you want to lose weight or simply declare your health, the Mediterranean diet is ideal, especially since it includes very tasty and healthy food.

The inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, cheese, yogurt and legumes.

The main source of fat is unrefined olive oil . Protein comes from fish and chicken, while red meat is rarely eaten. In Greece, Spain or Italy, people eat fatty foods and they like to enjoy a glass of wine.

However, they are not fattening because the starter they consume is healthy and the portions are reasonable, both in food and alcohol.

Helps stabilize blood sugar level

The Mediterranean diet is based on whole grains and healthy carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. Studies show that the daily introduction of complex carbohydrates (found in barley, whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, etc.) helps regulate blood sugar.

Following the Mediterranean diet is linked to a much better bone and muscle structure for women who have gone through menopause.

As bones become brittle and muscles are also affected after menopause, the Mediterranean diet is good news for women.

Prevent diabetes

The Mediterranean diet is able to prevent type 2 diabetes and can help improve blood sugar levels, in fact, people with type 2 diabetes who followed this diet noticed that they felt better, they normalized their blood sugar level and they managed to lose weight.

Protects the body against cancer

The studies concluded that those who adopted the Mediterranean diet had a 13% lower risk of death from cancer compared to those who did not.

Regulates the intestinal flora

A study has shown that the introduction of vegetables, fruits and legumes (lentils, sweet potatoes, beans, etc.) is associated with having a longer life by eating healthy foods.

The study showed

Mediterranean diet – Foods allowed

If you want to follow this diet to lose weight, you must enter the following food categories in your daily schedule.

Vegetables: Tomato, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Green Salad, Arugula, Spinach, Onion, Carrot, Cucumber.

Fruits: Apple, Grape, Figs, Strawberry,, Pear, Banana, Peach, Melon.

Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, Cashew, Pistachio, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Macadamia Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, Flaxseed, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seeds.

Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, etc.

Tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips.

Eggs: chicken, quail and duck eggs.

Dairy: cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt.

Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, fish oil.

Fish and seafood: Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Pangasius, Trout, Sardines, Shrimp, Clams, Mussels, Mollusks.

Spices and herbs: Garlic, Basil, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Pepper, Cinnamon, Thyme, Sage, Marjoram, Sweet paprika, Fennel

In conclusion, single ingredient foods are the key to good health.

Drinks allowed in the Mediterranean diet

  • Water should be your staple diet drink.
  • You can consume coffee, in moderate quantities and natural teas without sugar.
  • A glass of red wine a day is also allowed, but no abuse.

What foods to avoid in the Mediterranean diet?

  • Sugar products: carbonated juices, ice creams, sweets, breakfast cereals with sugar, cakes, etc.
  • Refined cereals: white bread, pasta, white rice.
  • Refined oils: soybean oil, rapeseed oil, margarine fats
  • Processed foods: Commercial processed meat sausages, hot dogs, etc.

How can you have a Mediterranean diet?

  • Eat in small portions.
  • Eat at least three times a day.
  • Ideally, have five meals, three main meals, and two snacks.
  • Eat slowly, enjoy food, together with family and friends.
  • Limit your consumption of red meat.
  • Eat fish or shellfish at least twice a week.
  • Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits in season.
  • Instead of salt, use Mediterranean spice blends.
  • Limit alcohol consumption (a glass of red wine is consumed at the Mediterranean table)
  • Choose olive oil in cooking and in salads.
  • As a carbohydrate source, choose whole grains.
  • Eliminate sausages and other undercooked meats from the daily diet.
  • Reduce the consumption of sweets and cakes and opt for fruits.
  • When you feel the need for a snack, eat nuts. peanuts, seeds, which contain a good starter.
  • The healthiest variants are mackerel, trout, salmon, herring, and tuna.

food for shopping

If you have planned this year to change your lifestyle to a healthy one, then the shopping list should not be lacking: fruits, vegetables, nuts, nuts, seeds, whole wheat bread, fish, shellfish and extra virgin olive oil.

Mediterranean Diet Menu for 5 days

You would like to integrate it into your lifestyle, but don’t you know what that means? To get an idea, we offer you a complete Mediterranean-style menu, perfect for the days of the week.


Breakfast: Greek yogurt with strawberries and oatmeal

Lunch: sandwich with whole wheat bread and vegetables

Dinner: a salad with olive oil and lemon dressing; a fruit


Breakfast: porridge with raisins

Food: sautéed vegetables (zucchini, sweet potato cut the rounds, aubergine, peppers) and mozzarella

Dinner: salad with tomatoes, olives and feta cheese


Breakfast: scrambled eggs with vegetables, tomatoes and onions;

Lunch: sandwich of whole wheat bread with cheese and fresh vegetables

Dinner: Mediterranean vegetable lasagna


Breakfast: yogurt with pieces of fruit and nuts

Food: lasagna leftover from the night before

Dinner: brown rice and vegetables

The information published in this article is for informational purposes and not to replace medical treatment.


Breakfast: two hundred and twenty grams of milk, three dry-type cookies with unsweetened berry jam.

Lunch: eighty grams of ragout noodles, seasoned cheese and raw ham, a sandwich.

Dinner: one hundred and twenty grams of grilled fish and a little oil, potatoes and tomato salad, sixty grams of whole wheat bread.

The information published in this article is for informational purposes and not to replace medical treatment.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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