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Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet includes nutrient-rich eating habits that can offer several health benefits and lower the risk of chronic conditions.

January 04, 2024

Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Inspired by the cuisines from countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes whole, plant-based foods and healthy fats. While this eating plan includes recommended foods, it’s more of a lifestyle than a restricted diet and has shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

Featuring ingredients and flavors from the Mediterranean region, this flexible way of eating can be customized to fit your needs and preferences. The diet provides a variety of nutrients and includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lentils and nuts.

Common features of the Mediterranean diet:

  • Olive oil is used abundantly as a source of added fat
  • Fish, seafood, dairy and poultry are eaten in moderation
  • Moderate amount of yogurt and cheese
  • Whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat breads
  • Little to no red meat (beef, pork, veal, lamb, etc.)
  • Limited sweets (candy, desserts, and other treats)

If you follow the Mediterranean diet, it is important to limit frying foods, and instead bake, grill or sauté when cooking meals. Also, this diet limits processed snacks, such as potato chips, cookies and cheesy crackers.

Examples of Mediterranean-friendly dishes:

  • Chicken Shawarma Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
  • Mediterranean Grain Bowls with hummus, cucumber, chickpeas, rice, and tomatoes
  • Baked Cod with Lemon and Herbs
  • Couscous Salad

Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet has attracted global attention due to the health benefits that can accompany this eating plan. By following a nutrient-rich diet that is lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, refined carbohydrates, added sugars and sodium, you can help:

Recommended by the American Heart Association, the Mediterranean diet has also shown to reduce risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol.

Adopting the Mediterranean lifestyle

If you are interested in following this pattern of eating, we recommend:

  1. Creating recipes that emphasize vegetables, beans and whole grains
  2. Eating fish at least twice a week and swapping red meats for occasional chicken or plant-based proteins like beans and rice
  3. Using olive oil instead of butter when preparing cooked foods and baking, sautéing or grilling meat or fish instead of frying them
  4. Eating fresh fruit for dessert instead of ice cream, cakes and other sweet treats

In addition to following these healthy eating patterns, the Mediterranean lifestyle emphasizes physical activity. If possible, experiment with different types of exercise until you find physical activity options that you enjoy doing on a consistent basis. Finding activities you like to do is called joyful movement and can be something you wouldn’t normally associate with physical activity, like gardening, jump roping, walking or dancing with your friends and family.

Mom's Meals® can help

We offer numerous meals that fit within the Mediterranean eating pattern. Choose from 60+ delicious meal options and nine-condition-specific menus such as heart-friendly meals and including general wellness and vegetarian. Fully prepared, refrigerated and delivered right to your home, you’ll receive meals that are ready to heat, eat and enjoy.