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Mediterranean Diet

Table of Contents


Overview

What is a Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy style of eating. It features foods eaten in Greece, Spain, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. It emphasizes eating fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fiber breads, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. These foods are rich in fiber and healthy fats. The diet limits meat, cheese, and sweets.

The fats allowed in this diet are mainly unsaturated fats. These include fish oils, olive oil, and certain seed oils (such as canola, soybean, and flaxseed) and nut oils (walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds). These types of oils may have a protective effect on the heart.

Most other heart-healthy diets recommend getting less than 35% of your calories from fat. But in the Mediterranean diet, an average of 35% to 40% of calories can come from healthy fats.

What are the benefits?

A Mediterranean-style diet may improve heart health. It contains more fat than other heart-healthy diets. But the fats are mainly from nuts, unsaturated oils (such as fish oils and olive oil), and certain nut or seed oils (such as canola, soybean, or flaxseed oil). These fats may help protect the heart and blood vessels.

How can you make it part of your eating plan?

Here's how to eat a traditional Mediterranean diet.


Credits for Mediterranean Diet

Current as of: May 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator


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