A spread of olives, bread, oils and an array of vegetables on a table.

The benefits of a mediterranean diet

You might love holidaying in the Mediterranean, but did you know that adopting the typical diet of the area can be a great way to improve your health?

Mediterranean diets are becoming ever-more popular thanks to their flexibility and inclusion of lots of delicious ingredients. Not only can eating in this way promote a healthy lifestyle, but it might also improve your heart health and support any weight loss efforts 1. Let’s dive in.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

If you choose to follow a Mediterranean diet, you’ll eat lots of the foods that are traditionally produced and consumed in this part of Europe. While lots of Mediterranean destinations have their own singular cuisine, they tend to share similarities.

In general, the Mediterranean diet involves eating lots of healthy foods  like fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, whole grains, and fish, as well as unsaturated fats and olive oil. You should also look to moderate your meat and dairy intake2.

Some key features of this type of eating includes3 :

  • Plenty of starchy carbohydrates, like bread and pasta
  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Eating more fish
  • Choosing products made from plant oils, like olive oil

While upping your carbohydrates, fresh foods, and fish, a Mediterranean diet also involves cutting down on4 :

  • Added sugar, like in sweets, cakes, and fizzy drinks
  • Refined grains, like some types of white bread and pasta
  • Refined oils, like canola and soybean oil
  • Processed meat and meat in general
  • All highly-processed foods

In essence, eat like you’re living in the Mediterranean! Sound good? Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Although there is no set Mediterranean diet to follow, adopting some of these eating habits could help improve your health. The focus on plant foods and fresh ingredients mean this style of eating includes lots of essential nutrients and foods.

Healthy fats

Healthy fats like those in olive oil, nuts, and some fruits, replace saturated fats in this type of diet. This can help manage cholesterol levels, obesity, and cardiovascular risk5 .

Plenty of fibre

A Mediterranean diet includes lots of fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grains, all of which boast high levels of dietary fibre6 . This can help keep your digestive system working at its best.

Low sugar

Although the Mediterranean style of eating includes lots of fresh fruit, it’s low in refined and added sugar. Getting your sweet fix from fruit rather than chocolate, biscuits, and fizzy drinks is a great healthy alternative and can help with weight loss and a feeling of satisfaction from your diet.

The Mediterranean diet and your heart health

One of the best-known benefits of the Mediterranean diet is its positive effect on heart health. Studies have found that following this type of straightforward eating plan can help the body maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

So why not make your diet more Mediterranean? You’ll be eating lots of delicious, satisfying meals, and there are plenty of possible health benefits too. What’s not to love?

Last Updated: 5th October 2020

Related Topics

DietsHeart Health