What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
A Mediterranean diet plan consists of eating popular foods, mostly plant-based, native to the region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea (Greece, Italy, Croatia, etc.). It’s known to be a heart-healthy diet encouraged by many medical experts. Rather than calorie counting, the Mediterranean diet program promotes nutritional balance by emphasizing a variety of healthy food options and avoiding all processed foods and junk foods.
The Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is a nutritional plan formed by the Oldways Preservation Trust, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the World Health Organization that outlines the frequency with which to eat certain types of food daily. This researched diet plan is intended to be a healthier alternative to the USDA’s standard food pyramid.
The base of the period encourages daily physical activity and social engagement. The next tier defines the core food groups you can enjoy daily: fruits, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and healthy fats. Moving up, you’ll find food that should be eaten in moderation: fish and seafood at least twice per week and poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt slightly less frequently. At the top of the pyramid is the food you should eat the least: red meat and sweets. Acceptable beverages include water and red wine.
What to Eat on the Mediterranean Diet
Use the Mediterranean Food Pyramid to guide your daily meal plans. Popular options that follow the suggested food pyramid include:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables of all kinds
- Nuts (peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts)
- Legumes, chickpeas, lentils, and beans
- Whole grains (whole wheat bread, rice, oats)
- Fish and seafood (shrimp, tuna, salmon, crab, lobster)
- Lean poultry (chicken, quail, duck)
- Eggs and dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt)
- Healthy fats (olive oil, avocado oil)
- Herbs and spices (basil, garlic, rosemary, pepper)
- Red meat (pork, beef, lamb)
Foods to Avoid on the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid also outlines foods you should avoid, specifically processed foods, sweets, and red meat. Avoid the following foods when following a Mediterranean diet plan:
- Prepackaged meals
- Refined carbs
- Sports drinks
- Processed meat
- Refined oils
- Trans fats
Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
The most celebrated benefit of the Mediterranean diet is its impact on heart health. Following a Mediterranean diet plan can decrease the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and reduce mortality from cardiovascular disease. A Mediterranean diet is also linked to lowering your risk of certain types of cancer and common conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and can help current patients manage their condition. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables boosts the number of antioxidants you receive, leading to improved immunity and overall health.
While the Mediterranean Diet isn’t explicitly formed for weight loss, it’s widely recognized as a healthy way to manage and lose weight quickly. It’s an ideal diet for those looking for a well-rounded, flexible nutritional plan that can adapt to any lifestyle. Increasing the number of healthy foods you eat daily (fruits, vegetables, lean meats) and eliminating harmful processed foods and sweets can help you balance your eating habits to lose weight.
Is the Mediterranean Diet Healthy?
Yes, doctors and researchers agree that the Mediterranean diet is one of the best ways to improve your health and longevity. Keep in mind that while it’s referred to as a “diet,” eating according to a Mediterranean diet plan is more of a lifestyle change than a temporary fix. There are very few health risks when participating in a Mediterranean diet. However, it’s important to remember the emphasis on daily exercise and sharing meals with others to get the best results.
How Can Diet Doc Help Me Stay on Track?
Our leading, medically supervised weight loss program offers an easy, telemedicine-based strategy for Mediterranean diet seekers. We provide clients with certified weight loss doctors, expert nutritionists, and weight loss coaches who provide one-on-one phone support for putting together recipes, help while grocery shopping, and meal preparation.
Your weight loss physician can also prescribe powerful medications to help you to eliminate food cravings and overcome emotional eating habits that may sabotage your success. We offer expedited shipping, allowing you to start losing weight right away.
Diet Doc programs are based around you, the individual. Rather than opting for a cookie-cutter diet, allow Diet Doc to get to the bottom of your weight loss struggles by assessing your unique body composition and the psychological barriers preventing you from achieving long-lasting weight maintenance success.