©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

What Is the Mediterranean Diet Food List?

Reviewed on 9/30/2020

What Is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that emphasizes mostly plant-based foods with olive oil as the source of fat, as well as poultry and fish.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that emphasizes mostly plant-based foods with olive oil as the source of fat, as well as poultry and fish.

A Mediterranean diet is based on diets typically eaten by people in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It is not a specific diet plan, but refers to a way of eating that is typically high in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. It includes olive oil as a main source of fat, and the diet permits moderate consumption of wine. It also usually allows for low to moderate consumption of fish, poultry, and dairy products, but minimal amounts of red meat.

What Are Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is associated with some health benefits:

  • Reduced risk of stroke compared with a low-fat diet 
  • Associated with lower overall mortality and cardiovascular mortality
  • Associated with a decreased incidence of certain diseases:
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Cancers, including colorectal, prostate, aerodigestive, oropharyngeal, and breast cancers
  • Improved glycemic control when compared with control diets (low fat, nonrestricted calorie, low carbohydrate, high carbohydrate, usual diet)
  • Reduced incidence of major cardiovascular events in patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease, including those with diabetes

What Is the Mediterranean Diet Food List?

Foods to eat on the Mediterranean Diet include: 

  • Plant foods that are minimally processed, seasonally fresh, and locally grown 
    • Fruits
      • Aim for three servings of fresh fruit daily
      • Poached or fresh fruit is best
    • Vegetables
      • Have a salad with each meal
      • Add an extra serving of vegetables to lunch and dinner
      • Aim for three to four servings a day
  • Whole grains
    • Dense, chewy, country-style whole grain bread loaves without added sugar or butter
    • Bulgur
    • Barley
    • Farro
    • Couscous
    • Whole-grain pasta
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
    • Try to eat at least 3 servings per week
      • Lentils
      • Chickpeas
      • Beans
      • Peas
  • Extra virgin olive oil is the main source of fat
  • Cheese and low-fat yogurt 
    • May be eaten daily in low to moderate amounts
    • Plain Greek yogurt is recommended
  • Fish
    • Two to three servings a week. 
    • Canned and fresh fish are fine
    • Prepare grilled; avoid fried fish
  • Lean poultry
    • Eaten a few times a week in low to moderate amounts
    • 3- to 4-ounce portions
  • Fresh fruit for dessert
    • Sweets containing added sugars or honey should only be eaten a few times per week
  • Wine with meals in low to moderate amounts
    • No more than two 5-ounce glasses per day for men, and one glass per day for women

Red meat is consumed infrequently and only in small amounts. When red meat is consumed it is best to use it as a condiment, mixed with plenty of vegetables such as in stir-fries and soups. 

Avoid sugary beverages and sugary desserts. 

SLIDESHOW

Sleep Disorders: Foods That Help Sleep or Keep You Awake See Slideshow

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 9/30/2020
References


CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW