The Mediterranean diet has a long-standing reputation as one of the healthiest eating patterns around.
It’s also considered one of the most popular plans among dieters because it’s flexible, rich in flavorful foods, and brimming with health benefits.
In fact, the Mediterranean diet has been linked to increased weight loss, decreased inflammation, and a lower risk of chronic disease.
This article takes a look at the Mediterranean diet, including its benefits, potential drawbacks, foods to eat and avoid, and a sample meal plan.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a style of eating that is based on the traditional diets of Mediterranean countries like Spain, France, Italy, and Greece.
Researchers noticed that people in these countries had lower rates of chronic disease, compared with those in the United States and Northern Europe, and they attributed this to their unique dietary pattern (1Trusted Source).
Unlike other popular diets, the Mediterranean diet focuses on including certain foods and food groups rather than counting calories or tracking macronutrients.
Healthy fats, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains are a few of the key components of the Mediterranean diet.
On the other hand, less healthy ingredients like red meat, sweets, and processed foods are restricted.
The Mediterranean diet is an eating pattern based on the traditional diets of those living in countries like Spain, France, Greece, and Italy.
How to follow the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes mostly nutrient-rich, whole food ingredients like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains.
Though it focuses primarily on plant foods, other ingredients like poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy can also be enjoyed in moderation.
Meanwhile, processed foods, added sugars, refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages should be avoided.
Certain types of alcohol, like red wine, can also be included in moderation but should be limited to no more than one or two servings per day for women and men, respectively.
In addition to making changes to your diet, engaging in regular physical activity is another crucial component of the Mediterranean diet.
Walking, running, bicycling, rowing, playing sports, and lifting weights are just a few examples of healthy physical activities that you can add to your routine.