The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries like Italy and Greece back in 1960.
Researchers noted that these people were exceptionally healthy compared to Americans and had a low risk of many lifestyle 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 follow the Mediterranean diet, as there are many countries around the Mediterranean sea and people in different areas may have eaten different foods.
- 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.
- Avoid: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.
Avoid These Unhealthy Foods
- Added sugar: Soda, candies, ice cream, table sugar and many others.
- Refined grains: White bread, pasta made with refined wheat, etc.
- Trans fats: Found in margarine, and various processed foods.
- Refined oils: Soybean oil, canola oils, cottonseed oil and others.
- Processed meat: Processed sausages, hot dogs, etc.
- Highly processed foods: Anything labeled "low-fat" or "diet" or which looks like it was made in a factory.
Build Your Meal Plan Around These Foods
- Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
- Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, etc.
- Whole grains: Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole-grain bread and pasta.
- Fish and seafood: Wild salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels, etc.
- Poultry: Chicken, duck, turkey, etc.
- Eggs: Chicken, quail and duck eggs.
- Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, etc.
- Herbs and spices: Garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
- Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados and avocado oil.
What to Drink
- red wine — around 1-2 glass per day.
- Coffee & herbal tea are also completely acceptable, but you should avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices, which are very high in sugar.