The Mediterranean diet is popular among nutritionists not only for its many health benefits but also for its flexibility and ease of use.
The diet emphasizes whole, plant-based foods, heart-healthy fats, and seafood, which comprise the majority of meals in Mediterranean regions like Greece and southern Italy.
Moreover, the Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle than a temporary way of eating. And it’s been shown that people who follow it long-term exhibit lower rates of chronic disease and have a longer life expectancy.
If you’re interested in trying out this healthy, popular diet, here’s a meal plan to get you started as well as some more info on some of the benefits you may reap from following the Mediterranean diet long-term.
What to eat and drink on the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet does not explicitly prohibit any food groups or require calorie restriction. That said, there are certain guidelines to follow to maximize the potential health benefits.
For example, avoid processed foods, and instead center your meals around plant-based foods, including vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Fish, such as light tuna, salmon, cod, and other types of seafood that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, play a central role, particularly for Americans who adhere to this diet.
Aim to choose foods in their least processed form — for example, steel-cut oats or even quick oats — as opposed to instant packets of oatmeal which typically have added sugar.