The Mediterranean Diet is considered to be one of the world's healthiest diets. In fact, it was ranked as the best overall diet for 2019 by U.S. News and World Report. It also took the top spot for best diet for healthy eating, best heart-healthy diet, best diet for diabetes, best plant-based diet and easiest diet to follow.
The diet emphasizes an eating style common to countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, like Greece and Italy. The eating plan focuses primarily on plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. It also includes healthy fats, such as those found in olive oil, nuts and seeds.
What it doesn't include is a lot of sugar, meat or other foods containing saturated fat, like butter. It is suggested that followers limit red meat to no more than a few times a month and instead eat fish a few times a week. Eggs, poultry and dairy can be eaten, but in smaller portions than is typical in traditional Western diets. Drinking red wine in moderation is allowed. Reducing salt intake by using more herbs and spices to flavor food is encouraged.
More than just a diet, followers of the Mediterranean diet are also encouraged to socialize over meals with family and friends, eat mindfully and exercise.
Research has shown that following a Mediterranean eating style may reduce your risk of heart disease. It has also been associated with a reduced risk of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, dementia, depression and Parkinson's disease. Aside from any potential health benefits, the Mediterranean style of eating is filled with whole foods that are delicious and nutritious.
Ready to get started? Watch this video to learn four easy steps.
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Date Last Reviewed: March 26, 2019
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor