The Mediterranean Diet is a way of eating based on the traditional foods and drinks of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea including Italy, France, Greece and Spain.
It includes unprocessed plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, plenty of olive oil and a glass of wine with a meal and is often regarded as one of the healthiest of diets.
Bread is an important part of the diet throughout the Mediterranean region, and is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not with butter or margarine, which contain saturated fats or trans-fats.
Although fat consumption is high, the prevalence of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes has always been significantly lower in Mediterranean countries.
Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat, but most of the fat is healthy. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts — generally no more than a handful of plain nuts a day.
The Mediterranean diet is healthy because
- butter is replaced with healthy fats, such as olive oil. 25% to 35% of calorie intake consists of fat. Saturated fat makes up no more than 8% of calorie intake.
- foods are flavoured with herbs and spices instead of salt.
- red meat is recommended only a few times a month.
- fish and poultry are included at least twice a week.
- a little red wine is included along with the meal (optional).
Physical activity is considered important .
Poultry: Chicken, duck, turkey and more.