The U.S. News and World Report evaluated and ranked the Mediterranean Diet at number 1 as the “Best Diet” and “Easiest Diet to Follow” for the year 2018 based on input from a panel of health experts. This diet is rich in diverse plant-based foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, lean proteins, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy – and yes, red wine in moderation (occasional one glass per day).

In fact, the Mediterranean is a style of eating that upholds the social and composed attributes of enjoying food, such as sitting down to meals (instead of gobbling in front of the T.V. as most people do).

This diet and lifestyle have been shown in several large studies to be the healthiest eating pattern worldwide and is thus universally advocated by diet experts and top medical professionals.

In this article, learn what does a Mediterranean Diet consist of, its main components, and some useful tips.

What Consists of A Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet pyramid sets up daily, weekly, and occasional dietary guidelines to adhere to a healthy and balanced diet. It puts emphasis on activity and social connections – so you will find them at the base of the pyramid. Moving upward, you’ll discover foods of plant origin, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts – the core foods that you should enjoy every day. Then come healthy fats like olive oil, herbs, and spices that you need daily but in variable amounts. Fish and seafood are basically consumed a few times a week, and eggs, poultry, and dairy foods – particularly fermented dairy like yogurt & traditional cheese – are consumed frequently in moderate portions. Red meat and sweets are scarcely eaten. Lots of water and occasional wine (for those who drink) play an important role.

Let us delve a little further:

What Does A Mediterranean Diet Consist Of – The three main meals should comprise the following key components:

(i) Healthy Grains / Cereals: One or two servings of whole grain sources in each meal – whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner; in the form of bread, pasta, rice, etc. They are chock full of fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties.

While usual whole grains include wheat, brown rice, and oats, the less common but gluten-free ones are quinoa, amaranth, farro, buckwheat, and bulgur.

(ii) Vegetables. Include these plant-based foods, more or equal to 2 servings per meal, in your two meals – maybe lunch and dinner. Choose a diversity of colors and textures to get a variety of antioxidants & protective compounds. Opt for raw, grilled, steamed, sautéed, or roasted, but make sure at least one of the servings is raw (salad).

(iii) Fruits: One or two servings per meal. Eat as much variety of fruit as possible. It can be eaten at the time when you usually crave sugar during the day.

Check here how to incorporate more vegetables and fruit in your diet

(iv) Proteins: The Mediterranean diet is traditionally based more on plant protein than animal protein. Good plant proteins like beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds are eaten more often than animal protein. Animal proteins included are mainly fish and shellfish, and seafood that are packed with omega 3 fatty acids. Some of the excellent seafood that contains healthy fat are mackerel, salmon, arctic char, oysters, and anchovies. Eggs are also eaten because of its protein content.

(v) Healthy Fats: The saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (trans fats) are discouraged, and the focus is on extra virgin olive oil (the least processed form) as the primary source of fat.

Fatty fish are the other source of healthy fat in the Mediterranean diet, which are consumed regularly in a Mediterranean diet. Mackerel, salmon, sardines, lake trout, herring, and albacore tuna are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

(v) Red Wine: The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes a moderate amount of red wine. It should not exceed 5 ounces (150 milliliters) daily for men or women over age 65 and not more than 10 ounces (296 milliliters) daily for men under age 65.

Caution: If you tend to exceed your alcohol intake beyond the limits defined above, if you have liver issues, or if you have a family or personal history of alcohol abuse, stay away from drinking wine or, for that matter, any other type of alcohol.

(vi) Water: Although water needs may vary from person to person depending upon age, physical activity, and weather conditions, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes a daily intake of about 1.5 to 2 liters. In addition to water, rich herbal infusions (without sugar) and broths (with low fat & less salt content) may be taken to complete the water needs.

(vii) Low-Fat Dairy Products: Choose low-fat milk (not more than 2% fat), yogurt, and cheese. They play an important role in bone health.

(viii) Spices, Herbs, Garlic, And Onion: Herbs and spices are an excellent way to infuse flavor and taste into dishes and help in the reduction of your salt consumption.

What Is The Mediterranean Diet Consist Of – Some Useful Tips

(a) Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This oil plays a very important role and so placed at the center of the pyramid. All over the Mediterranean region, saturated or trans fats are not used. For example, the people in this region eat bread either plain or dipped in olive oil – not with butter or margarine because they contain saturated or trans fats.

(b) Sweets And Meats: The sugary, unhealthy, fat-rich foods (sweets) and red meat are bad for your health, so they are placed at the vertex of the pyramid. They should be eaten in small amounts, and that too rarely. Keep away from sausage, bacon & other high-fat meats.

(c) Nuts And Seeds: Keep almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and other healthy nuts handy for a quick snack. Go for natural peanut butter instead of the kinds with hydrogenated fat – saturated and trans fats. Consider tahini (blended sesame seeds) as a dip or spread for whole-grain bread.

Note: Nuts are chock full of fat (about eighty percent of their calories come from fat), and most of the fat is not saturated. As nuts are high in calories, they should only be eaten in moderation, not more than a handful per day. Steer clear of honey-roasted or candied and too much-salted nuts.

Check this Best Resource on Health and Nutrition

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is an ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. HeJust Fitness Hub passed the Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says, “Age is just a number!”

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is general and for information only because it doesn’t consider your health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalized health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should determine if the information is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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