The Basics of the Mediterranean Diet
Recommended for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, the Mediterranean Diet is rated so highly for its health benefits that May has been designated International #MedMonth to encourage more people to try it.
To help people embrace the delicious flavors and healthful ingredients of this diet, Oldways created the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid together with the Harvard School of Public Health and the WHO in 1993, as a healthy, long term eating plan that’s easy to follow:
Embracing the Med Diet is all about making some simple, but profound changes in the way you eat today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life.1
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
By using the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid as a visual aid, you can easily and gradually start to follow this lifestyle approach to heart-healthy eating. For example, choose more wholesome foods instead of processed foods, choose low fat over high fat foods, and watch your sugar intake.
Follow these tips from the Med Diet Pyramid:
- Core foods to enjoy every day: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, nuts and healthy fats such as olive oil.
- Twice weekly servings of ﬁsh and seafood.
- Moderate portions of dairy foods, eggs, and occasional poultry.
- Infrequent servings of red meats and sweets.2
Learn to love extra virgin olive oil
By making small changes to your food-shopping habits, you can gradually start to incorporate more heart-healthy foods into your diet. According to Oldways, the first step is to buy yourself a new bottle of olive oil.
Olive oil is the magic ingredient in the Med Diet for its heart-healthy antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It makes an excellent substitute for unhealthy saturated fats.
Learn how to use extra virgin olive oil in your everyday recipes and cooking. For example:
- Each week buy a new Mediterranean ingredient like olive oil, herbs, or fish.
- Learn the conversions to replace butter with olive oil so you can start cooking and baking with it.
- Try a new recipe each week like our lemon parmesan shrimp and vegetables over bulgur or parsley and sun dried tomato pesto.
- Substitute salad dressing with olive oil and fresh herbs.
- Try different brands of olive oil and get to know the different flavors.
- Choose fresh foods over processed products every time you shop.
While the Mediterranean Diet is not a restrictive diet, portion control is still very important in order to maintain a healthy body weight. In addition, the Med Diet recommends drinking water, red wine in moderation, and remaining physically and socially active.
Above all, the Mediterranean Diet is a celebration of food that should be shared with family and friends, and enjoyed for its delicious flavors and health-giving benefits.
Together with the DASH diet, the Mediterranean Diet is a deliciously healthy approach to preventing heart disease and high blood pressure.
- International Mediterranean Diet Month; Oldways Mediterranean Foods Alliance.
- Oldways Mediterranean Diet.
- A #MedMonth tip a day for the month of May: Oldways; 2019.
- Blog Contributor