The Perfect Mediterranean Diet: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Mediterranean diet

Some call this the perfect diet, as it’s nutritionally sound and not difficult to follow – you don’t have to cut anything out for good. Besides making you look and feel better, studies show that this diet increases longevity and improves heart health.

1. What Can You Eat on the Mediterranean Diet?

mediterranean diet food

If you do yourself a favor and adopt a Mediterranean diet, you’ll be eating:

• Vegetables and fruits
• Seafood
• Olive oil
• Hearty Grains
• Beans, Legumes, and Nuts
• Low to moderate amount of wine

Overall, you will be eating fresh and local food rather than processed foods.

2. What Can’t You Eat on the Mediterranean Diet?

mediterranean diet pyramid

Technically, you can eat everything but you should eat small amounts of red meat and sweets. You’ll also be eating low to moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, fish, cheese, and yogurt.

3. The Mediterranean Diet Didn’t Start as a Weight Loss Plan

mediterranean diet history

You’ll probably lose weight on the Mediterranean diet since it’s focused on plant-based nutrition and an active lifestyle. But it didn’t start out as a weight loss diet.

A scientist and doctor in the 1940s named Ancel Keys became interested in the good health and longevity of the people living in the Mediterranean region and started researching and promoting this diet. It didn’t gain widespread notice until the 1990s. Over the past 50+ years, studies have come out that show a correlation between this eating pattern and lower risks of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, diabetes, and depression.

Because nutrition was the focus and aesthetics was not, the Mediterranean diet is nutritionally sound and full of antioxidants, heart-healthy fats, and vitamins.

4. It Only Refers to the Eating Habits of a Few Countries

mediterranean diet region

The Mediterranean is a large body of water, so this diet’s name is a bit of a misnomer. It doesn’t really describe the eating habits of most of North Africa and the Middle East, and just draws from the dietary patterns of Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Southern Italy.

5. The Mediterranean Diet is a Lifestyle

mediterranean lifestyle

It’s not just about food. This diet promotes good health by trying to mimic the lifestyle of people living on the Greek islands. Daily physical exercise has a large role in the Mediterranean diet, as does sharing meals with others and appreciating delicious food. When you sit down for a meal on this diet, you’re not watching TV or rushing through your meal. Instead, you’re eating with others and savoring your food slowly.

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