What is the Mediterranean Diet? A Short Guide to the Best Diet in the World

Mediterranean diet is basically the diet of people in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean diet is globally recognized as the world’s healthiest diet. Helping with weight loss, protecting heart health and overall promoting a healthy lifestyle, the Mediterranean diet was ranked number one diet in the world. It is heavily based on fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. It is not your boring diet that restricts fun. The richness of flavors and the inclusion of red wine and cheese makes Mediterranean diet the world’s favorite.

Mediterranean breakfast
Turkish Breakfast with fresh veggies and fruits, olives, three different types of European cheese, eggs, bread, tahini, walnuts and figs.

Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet is essentially a plant-based diet which makes it the healthiest diet in the world. More and more research has been showing that the Mediterranean diet prevents a number of diseases and improves one’s quality of life.

Prevents Heart Disease and Strokes

Promoting healthy fats such as olive oil, walnuts, and the oil from other types of nuts, the Mediterranean diet limits saturated and trans fats that are known to cause cardiovascular disease.

Prevents Diabetes

Mediterranean diet is a satisfying diet full of flavors you can play with. Breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes are full of colorful veggies, fruits and spices that leaves you feeling full and content. Because of this, you simply don’t go looking for sweet treats that will get your blood sugar high. The legumes and whole grains used daily in this diet also keep your blood sugar at a healthy low level due to its high fiber content.

Prevents and Treats Cancer

Fresh vegetables, plant-based protein and healthy fats have the ability to nourish your body and fight free radicals that lead to cancer. Research shows that a varied, plant-based diet with moderate amounts of animal protein has the ability to reverse cancer. The key is to focus mostly on plant foods that come from mother nature.

Treats Depression and Anxiety

Several studies came to the conclusion that Mediterranean diet reduces inflammation, and therefore lower the risk of depression. Study showed that inflammatory diets directly effect the brain and cause oxidative stress. Plant-based diets like the Mediterranean diet are anti-oxidant and clearly prevent depression.

Main Elements of the Mediterranean Diet

  • Vegetables and fruits. Fresh, seasonal, raw and cooked
  • Legumes, whole grains and nuts
  • Herbs and spices
  • Olive Oil
  • Fish, poultry and red meat
Mediterranean diet pyramid
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

Key Habits of the Mediterranean Diet You Must Adopt

It’s the little things that make Mediterraneans so healthy and fit. To be able to make this diet a success, you must adopt a set of Mediterranean cooking habits. These habit will make your meals taste better and benefit your health.
  • Cooking with fresh vegetables and fruits
  • Washing raw meats, veggies and fruits before using
  • Cooking legumes (beans, peas, chick peas etc.) from scratch after soaking them in water overnight (no canned beans)
  • Buying good quality olives and cheese. Kalamata olives are the best to have for meals. American cheese is not considered cheese.
  • Drinking herbal teas such as chamomile, linden, green tea and black tea during the day and in the evening for better digestion and to avoid snacking on unhealthy carbs
  • Eating raw nuts and dried fruits in moderation in between meals such as walnuts, almonds, peanuts, figs, apricots, prunes and raisins
  • Investing in high quality olive oils for cooking and salads
  • Mixing olive oil, lemon juice and salt for salad dressing for almost all kinds of salads
  • Utilizing spices like thyme, cumin, rosemary, turmeric, sumac in order to keep the meal flavorful and less salty
  • Sautéing instead of frying which is a healthier method and just as delicious

What to Eat on the Mediterranean Diet

Eat Regularly

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Olive oil
  • Beans, chick peas, black-eyed peas, red and green lentils and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Herbs and spices

Eat Often

  • Salmon
  • Sea bass
  • Shrimp

Eat in Moderation

  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt (organic, sugar free, home-made if possible)
  • Cheese; goat cheese, feta cheese, organic cheese
  • Raw organic honey

Eat Rarely

  • Red meat
  • Dessert

Do not Eat

  • Processed meats like bacon, sausage, hotdog, chicken tenders and fast food
  • Fried foods of any kind
  • Candy and prepackaged snacks of any kind
  • American cheese, processed cheese which is not real cheese
  • Fake yogurts packed with sweeteners

What to Drink on the Mediterranean Diet

  • A glass of red wine daily is okay on the Mediterranean diet. Merlot has very little calories and highly recommended.
  • Water, water and water… Mediterraneans sometimes prefer regular sparkling water with dinner.
  • Tea; herbal teas made with loose leaves are very beneficial to health and digestion.
  • Coffee is allowed. Refined sugar is not.

Think Mediterranean

Mediterranean countries value family time. Breakfast and dinner are eaten as a whole family. Family members wait before they eat until everybody is at the table. The meal is paced by conversations and working together to have the dinner table ready. This helps with eating slowly and prevents overeating.

An active lifestyle is one of the fitness secrets of the Mediterraneans. After dinner, families often go for a walk and socialize. Families with children take their kids to the playground for them to burn their energy before bed.

Wanna try the Mediterranean diet? Here is a healthy and yummy salad recipe packed with plant-based proteins and vitamins.

The Black-Eyed Pea Salad by Müge Jones

6 thoughts on “What is the Mediterranean Diet? A Short Guide to the Best Diet in the World

  1. Nancy

    Great post! Lots of really good info. To me, it seems like an easy way to eat…my husband may not agree lol

  2. Charity

    I have been looking for a diet to lose weight and stay healthy. This diet seems to be simple and easy to follow. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Madi Rowan

    This diet sounds so interesting, I love learning more about it! I think it’s so important to find a diet that works best for you. I’ve been plant based for 3 months now & I love it!
    -madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com

  4. Deema

    I’m Lebanese! A mediterranean diet is super healthy and oh so delicious! Great post!

  5. Mama Writes Reviews

    I lost over 40 pounds when I did this diet last time. Unfortunately I did not keep it off, but that is my OWN fault. I had two pregnancies and a stubborn case of PCOS which messed up my hormones.
    This “Diet” (totally a lifestyle!) is amazing and much healthier for your heart and body than some other choices you can make. Once my GI system calms down more, I’m definitely going back on this diet, although I’ve already made permanent changes to my life, like eating much lower carb and starting to cut out sugar and white flour again.

  6. ara patria

    great post and idea indeed! haven’t tried any Mediterranean diet and it feels like I wanna try them as they are healthier than other diets.

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