Mediterranean Diet Plan

A Mediterranean diet plan is a generic term based on the traditional eating habits of countries near the Mediterranean Sea. These diet plans gained popularity because of the long, healthy lives often enjoyed by the region's inhabitants, such as those in Italy and Spain.

There's no standard Mediterranean Diet Plan as there are 16 countries that border the sea, with a wide variety of cultures, geography, agriculture and eating habits. However, there are some commonalities.

Staple Foods on a Mediterranean Diet Plan

The general guidelines of a Mediterranean diet plan are:

According to the American Heart Association, a Mediterranean Diet often has a higher percentage of its calories coming from fat than a traditional diet plan. It's also not uncommon for meals to be totally meatless, with vegetables, legumes and whole grains making up most of the meal.

A typical breakfast or snack on the Mediterranean Diet Plan might be avocado on whole-grain toast.

Foods to Avoid on a Mediterranean Diet Plan

The foods to avoid a Mediterranean Diet Plan include, like virtually all weight loss plans:

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet Plan

Many follow a Mediterranean Diet Plan not just for weight loss but also for the supposed health benefits. A five-year New England Journal of Medicine study found that the Mediterranean Diet Plan reduced the risk of stroke, heart attack and death by 30% compared with a control group.

More research is necessary, but it is true that people in Mediterranean countries have heart disease at a lower rate than people in the U.S. Following the Mediterranean diet can also lead to more stable blood sugar and lower cholesterol.

Downsides of a Mediterranean Diet Plan

There aren't many downsides to the Mediterranean Diet Plan. It provides for a recommended balance of macronutrients and is often recommended by doctors and health associations. Followers of the Mediterranean diet will want to make sure to get enough Vitamin C (to absorb iron) and calcium (because dairy is not a big part of the diet). Wine, especially red wine, is a common part of Mediterranean-style eating, but some people should not drink alcohol, and it should always be in moderation.

Nutrition on a Mediterranean Diet Plan

Following a Mediterranean Diet Plan involves making long-term, sustained dietary changes. Broadly, you should aim for a diet with lots of natural foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthful fats. It's also possible to do a vegetarian version of the Mediterranean Diet Plan by replacing animal protein with plant-based protein.

Browse Diet Plans

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