A Path to Health and Longevity: The Mediterranean Diet Explained - Episode 16

Perhaps you’ve heard about it on the news, or from your healthcare team. But what exactly is the Mediterranean diet? And why should you care? The Mediterranean diet, characterized by a primarily plant-based eating plan, has gained recognition for its potential health benefits. The diet, based on the dietary traditions of Mediterranean countries, emphasizes foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and moderate consumption of fish and red wine. The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid serves as a guide for the proportions of different food groups, but portion sizes are left to your own discretion.

While the Mediterranean diet lacks specific portion sizes, it encourages healthy fats, primarily derived from olive oil, avocados, nuts, and oily fish such as sardines, salmon, trout, tuna, etc. Here are a few more interesting points about the diet: 

  • In terms of drink, water is the main daily beverage 
  • A moderate intake of wine with meals, about one to two glasses a day for men, and one glass a day for women 
  • Daily physical activity and the beneficial social aspects of eating meals together are also highlighted
  • Choosing fish as the preferred animal protein at least twice weekly and other animal proteins of poultry, eggs, and dairy (cheese or yogurt) in smaller portions either daily or a few times a week. 
  • Red meat is limited to a few times per month

Studies have consistently shown that adopting a Mediterranean diet can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and overall mortality. Research studies involving more than 20,000 women demonstrated a 24% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. Additional studies have revealed a reduction in stroke-related deaths and a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes among individuals following this lifestyle.

Although there is a potential risk of consuming too many calories due to the absence of portion guidelines, long-term adherence to the Mediterranean diet has actually helped some people maintain weight loss. The combination of various foods in the diet, rather than isolated nutrients, is believed to contribute to its protective effects against diseases.

In conclusion, research supports the Mediterranean diet as a healthy eating pattern for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, promoting longevity, healthy aging, and potentially aiding in weight loss. It is recommended to adopt the diet as a whole, rather than simply incorporating individual components, for best results.



Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health (2023). Diet Review: Mediterranean Diet. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/mediterranean-diet/

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