The Mediterranean diet consists of foods eaten by people who live in the region around the Mediterranean Sea, in countries such as Greece, Croatia, and Italy. It's associated with a wide range of health benefits, and thankfully for you, is pretty tasty, too.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the key components of a Mediterranean diet include:
• Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
• Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil
• Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
• Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
• Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
• Enjoying meals with family and friends
• Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
• Getting plenty of exercise
The Mediterranean diet focuses on pretty commonplace ingredients, meaning you might already be eating a Mediterranean diet without knowing it!
Studies have shown that people who follow this diet reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke.
Typical dishes from a Mediterranean diet are bursting with color. They center around a medley of vegetables cooked in olive oil and are complemented with moderately sized servings of fish or chicken and bread or whole grains.
Notably, another one of the diet's main elements is that you share your meals with friends and family. This context, way less commonplace now than in previous decades, encourages strong relationships, which has proven positive health benefits.