The Mediterranean Diet

The traditional Mediterranean diet incorporates many elements of people living in Greece and southern Italy. The Mediterranean diet focuses on small portions of nutritionally-sound food.

This diet features food from plant sources, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, bread and potatoes, and olive oil. It also limits processed foods consumption and recommends eating locally grown foods rich in micronutrients and antioxidants. Other aspects of this eating plan include consuming fish and poultry at least twice per week, eating red meat only a few times per month, having up to seven eggs per week, and drinking red wine in moderation. Unlike most diets, the Mediterranean diet does not cut fat consumption across the board. Instead, it incorporates low-fat cheese and dairy products, and it substitutes olive oil, canola oil, and other healthy oils for butter and margarine.

More than fifty years of nutritional and epidemiological research has shown that people who follow the Mediterranean diet have some of the lowest rates of chronic disease and the highest longevity rates among the world’s populations. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet also significantly decreases excess body weight, blood pressure, blood fats, blood sugar, and insulin levels.


  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • De-emphasizes processed foods and emphasizes whole foods and healthy fats
  • Lower sodium intake due to fewer processed foods
  • Emphasis on monosaturated fats leads to lower cholesterol.
  • Highlighting fruits and vegetables raises the consumption of antioxidants.


  • Does not specify daily serving amounts
  • Potential for high fat and high-calorie intake as nuts and oils are calorie-dense foods.
  • Drinking one to two glasses of wine per day may not be healthy for those with certain conditions.