Lowdown on the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is a simple, nutritious way to eat and live that incorporates the basics of healthy eating — plus a splash of flavourful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine.

The diet’s components characterise the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and is based upon the high consumption of plant-based natural foods, fish, eggs and legumes, wholegrains and olive oil, and the reduced consumption of red meat, processed foods, salt, sugar and bad fats.

It incorporates a range of antioxidant-rich foods, good fats, as well as plenty of fruit, vegetables and fibre.

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease, is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, while women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.

  • What’s On The Menu:
  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour 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

Desi Carlos and Lisa Peterson, authors of Mediterranean Eating: Cook, Eat, Live, say the style offers a well-rounded, natural approach to eating.

“As dietitians, we see so many people struggling and in poor health from fads or restrictive diets,” Desi says.

“The Mediterranean Diet is a simple, sensible and effective way to eat for good health.”

Dr Steven Nissen, Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic agrees.

“In the checkout line, you can see one book after another touting diets that have zero scientific evidence. The Mediterranean diet still has the best evidence of any diet.”