Plated salmon typical of a Mediterranean diet

What is the Mediterranean diet and is it right for you?

If you want to escape the counting, restrictions, and cravings of another starvation diet, it’s time to consider heading to the Mediterranean…the Mediterranean diet, that is! Bid farewell to those tasteless and tedious diets of the past and welcome a world of fresh, colorful foods and bold, bright flavors that offer a taste of what is a typical Mediterranean diet. Even though it’s known as a diet, there’s no strict Mediterranean diet meal plan that deprives you of the foods you love. The Mediterranean diet not only satisfies your appetite, but also fulfills your desire for a healthy and happy life. So, explore what is a traditional Mediterranean diet and take a tour of its numerous benefits to find out if you should bring the Mediterranean diet home.

What is a typical Mediterranean diet?

In a typical Mediterranean diet, meals are brimming with fresh, healthy, and filling foods and bursting with spices and flavor. Just as importantly, days are full of healthy activity and meals are special moments that are meant to be slowly savored and shared with friends and family. The Mediterranean diet meal plan mirrors this way of both eating and living for a diet that doesn’t feel like a diet at all. This is because it’s simply a style of eating and living built on the cuisines and cultures of people living in the countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Italy, Greece, and Spain. You’re basically eating what is a traditional Mediterranean diet and enjoying the fresh flavors, healthy pleasures, and natural benefits of this satisfying way of life.

Get a taste of the Mediterranean diet

So, what do you get to eat on the Mediterranean diet? With so many countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, the Mediterranean diet food list features an abundance of fresh, real, unprocessed foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that are also full of flavor. Fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, nuts, healthy fats, and fish make up a majority of the diet, while meat and dairy are simply an accent. Your meals will never be boring because the Mediterranean diet food list is full of fresh, colorful foods enjoyed in what is a traditional Mediterranean diet. And since there’s no single Mediterranean diet meal plan, your meals are truly up to you, as long as they are based on this healthy approach to eating. You can create a versatile and unique menu with the following Mediterranean diet food list:

  • A wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains like oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa, corn, whole-wheat bread, and pasta
  • Legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas
  • Nuts, seeds, and nut butters
  • Heart-healthy, unsaturated fats like olive oil and avocado
  • Fish and seafood, including fresh and canned
  • Herbs and spices for fresh, zesty flavor
  • Yogurt, eggs, cheese, and poultry in moderate amounts
  • Very little red meat
  • Sweets on rare occasions
  • Red wine in moderation
  • Water, coffee, and tea are the drinks of choice

Why so many people are adopting a Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet has become a popular way of eating because it’s an easy and enjoyable style of eating that contributes to health and longevity. Since the diet emphasizes the staples in what is a typical Mediterranean diet, such as fresh produce, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats, it offers a lengthy list of health benefits. Countless studies have shown that a lifestyle based on what is a traditional Mediterranean diet can help improve your health in the follow ways:

  1. Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke
  2. Improve your cholesterol levels
  3. Control your weight
  4. Decrease your risk of diabetes
  5. Lower your risk of dementia and cognitive concerns
  6. Lessen your risk of many cancers
  7. Ease disease-causing inflammation
  8. Enhance your quality of sleep

Food for thought

If you’re fed up with fad diets and quick-fix crazes, as well as looking to improve your meals along with your health, the Mediterranean diet may be the recipe you’ve been craving for long-term health and happiness. To truly follow the Mediterranean lifestyle, just as important as the foods you eat are staying physically active and slowly savoring meals with the people you love. Remember, before beginning any healthy eating approach, ask your SignatureMD-affiliated doctor or a nutritionist if the Mediterranean diet is right for you. To customize the style of eating to your preferences, health needs and lifestyle, talk to a registered dietitian to ensure that your diet satisfies your appetite and your needs.

To savor the simple pleasures of good food, good times, and good health, the Mediterranean diet lets you eat well, feel well, and live well.