Basics of the Mediterranean Style of Eating

July 27, 2010 in Cooking Tips by Joyce Bunderson

A unified Med Diet is a primarily plant-based, whole-foods diet filled with an abundance of healthful plant-derived bioactive compounds and a low intake of artery-clogging saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, and trans fat. Janet Bond Brill made 13 suggestions for a unified Mediterranean Diet in her article, "The Mediterranean Diet and Your Health" Am J Lifestyle Medicine 2009: Vol. 3, No. 1: 44-56.

The 13 suggestions are:

  1. daily consumption of several servings of whole grains (minimally processed)
  2. daily consumption of a variety of vegetables (including root vegetables if desired), with an emphasis on daily intake of dark leafy greens (seasonally fresh)
  3. daily consumption of fruit (seasonally fresh)
  4. daily consumption of plant foods high in omega-3 fatty acids
  5. daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil (used as the main fat)
  6. daily consumption of legumes
  7. daily consumption of red wine (1 to 2 glasses/d) with meals (optional)
  8. daily consumption of a small amount of nuts
  9. daily use of antioxidant-rich herbs and spices to flavor foods (such as garlic, onions, dill, oregano, and curry powder)
  10. weekly consumption of omega-3- rich fish, at least 2 servings per week
  11. weekly consumption of a small amount of low-fat or fat-free dairy (such as flavorful cheeses and yogurt), several servings per week
  12. moderate consumption of poultry and eggs (can be less than once per week if desired)
  13. occasional consumption of sweets containing refined sugars (can be less than once per week if desired)

In "The Mediterranean diet: science and practice" Public Health Nutr. 2006; 9:105-110, W. C. Willett has estimated that more than 80% of CHD, 70% of stroke, and 90% of type 2 diabetes can potentially be avoided with adherence to the traditional Med Diet together with regular physical activity and not smoking.