Potentially the world’s healthiest way of eating, the Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that were consumed by populations in Italy and Greece throughout history.
The diet emphasizes produce, fish, whole grains, and health fats – encouraging a high intake of fibre, moderate consumption of meats and alcohol, and tons of antioxidants. Followers of this diet will also enjoy meals with their loved ones – cooking as a family, eating as a family, and sharing a glass of red wine after dinner as a family.
Eating plenty of fresh, non-starchy produce is key to the Mediterranean diet. You’ll want to shoot for at least five servings each day, with each serving being approximately one cup of raw produce. Healthy fats are also encouraged – coming from things like olive oil, nuts, fish, and avocado.
Legumes not only contain a ton of these necessary fats, but add a hefty boost of protein – and lean protein from non-meat sources is another cornerstone of this diet. To follow the Mediterranean diet as recommended, aim to eat a serving of legumes (a half-cup, cooked) at least twice a week, and a small handful of nuts every day.
Protein from fish and eggs is also encouraged – two to three times each week. Dairy protein, derived from milk products like yogurt and fresh cheeses, should be consumed daily. Try to get one to three servings of dairy, one cup of milk or yogurt or one ounce of cheese. Lean meats and poultry are welcome in the diet, but these are to be enjoyed in moderation.
Carbohydrates are included in this diet, as well. Refined carbs, however, are discouraged – as these will cause issues with your blood sugar. Aim for four small portions of whole grain carbs each day – whole-wheat bread, pasta made from quinoa, or sprouted or fermented grains. These should always be consumed with healthy fats and protein, to ensure proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
You should also enhance your meals with fresh herbs and spices, which are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Drink plenty of water, but also coffee, tea, and even a glass of red wine each day.