The Mediterranean Diet

October 8, 2012 BY: LISA

Other healthy diets come and go yet the Mediterranean way of eating is standing the test of time. I have compiled some information that may encourage you to try this healthy way of eating. The reason that this whole lifestyle has been researched is that those living in these regions tended to have a lower incidence of heart disease. It’s not all about the food though as physical work and relaxed family meals are also a part of the lifestyle which also contributes to good health.

The Mediterranean diet is like other heart-healthy diets in that it recommends eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber grains. But in the Mediterranean diet, an average of 35% to 40% of calories can come from fat. Most other heart-healthy guidelines recommend getting less than 35% of your calories from fat. The fats allowed in the Mediterranean diet are mainly from mono-unsaturated oils, such as fish oils, olive oil, and certain nut or seed oils (such as canola, soybean, or flaxseed oil). These types of oils may have a protective effect on the heart.

For your heart and body, a Mediterranean-style diet may:

  • Prevent heart disease.
  • Lower the risk of a second heart attack.
  • Lower cholesterol.
  • Prevent type 2 diabetes.
  • Prevent metabolic syndrome.(high blood pressure, high waist circumference, high cholesterol, impaired glucose metabolism)

For your brain, a Mediterranean-style diet might help prevent:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.
  • Depression.
  • Parkinson’s disease


The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

  • Getting plenty of exercise
  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

The diet also recognizes the importance of enjoying meals with family and friends.

Mediterranean cuisine varies by region, but is largely based on vegetables, fruits, olives, beans, whole grains, olive oil, and fish, along with a little dairy and wine. Additionally, the Mediterranean lifestyle includes leisurely dining and regular physical activity.

There is not a single “Mediterranean diet.” Instead, it’s a dietary pattern of plant foods, monounsaturated fats (mainly olive oil), fish, and limited amounts of animal products.

The basic Mediterranean diet pattern is as follows:

  • Legumes: Eat daily.
  • Fruit: 2.5 cups daily.
  • Vegetables: 2 cups + daily.
  • Fish: More than twice weekly.
  • Nuts: A handful daily.
  • Meat/poultry: Less than 100grams daily. (usually not included daily)
  • Dairy products: 2 cups of a low-fat variety daily.
  • Wine: 1 daily serving for women, two for men.
  • Fats: Use primarily monounsaturated fats. (Olive oil- however canola oil is also monounsaturated fat)
  • Eggs: Less than 4 per week.

 Some tips for embracing the Mediterranean style of eating:

  • Base every meal on legumes, vegetables and whole grains using fish, olive oil, herbs, nuts daily and meat less often.
  • Select whole grains for your breads, cereals, and other starches.
  • Choose nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, low-fat dairy, and poultry to satisfy your protein needs (you can include lean meat on occasion as well).
  • Most importantly, reduce the amount of saturated and trans fats in your diet. Use olive or canola oil instead of butter or margarine.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, enjoy it as a glass of wine with lunch and/or dinner.
  • Most foods included in the Mediterranean diet are fresh and seasonal rather than highly processed. Preparation methods tend to be simple; foods are rarely deep-fried.
  • And the wide variety of delicious foods makes it easier to stick to the Mediterranean diet for the long term. But even on a diet full of healthy foods, it’s important to watch portions — especially for higher-calorie foods like nuts and olive oil.


Recipes: Grain and Legume Nutrition Council


Lisa Renn (APD)



  1. This excellent article, “The Mediterranean Diet | Body Warfare Nutrition
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    Thank you -Helen

    March 31st, 2013
  2. Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your
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