Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet
Eat tasty food and enjoy every bite while also enjoying the benefits to your overall health.
Eating well and staying healthy has never been easier thanks to the Mediterranean diet, which has become popular because the foods are flavorful, easy to make and budget-friendly.
Besides being delicious, the Mediterranean diet also boasts plenty of health benefits. For example, it’s been found to lower the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. “It can also help reduce blood pressure and assist with weight loss,” explains Emily Newhard, RDN, program manager of Foodservice at Geisinger.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
When your plate is full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans/nuts/legumes and flavorful herbs and spices, you know it must be healthy.
“This meal pattern emphasizes intake of fish or seafood at least twice weekly. A serving size of cooked seafood is 6 ounces,” says Newhard. “Other protein sources on the menu include poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.”
An average day’s meal plan following a Mediterranean diet could look like this:
- Breakfast: Vegetable frittata with onions, garlic, basil, spinach, artichoke hearts and tomato. Baked sweet potato wedges. Herbal tea.
- Lunch: Lentil vegetable soup and a green salad with arugula, purple cabbage, red onion, cucumber, carrot, walnuts and mustard vinaigrette. Whole grain bread or crackers. Iced black tea with lemon.
- Dinner: Lemon dill baked fish over brown rice with garlic sautéed kale and a glass of red wine.
- Dessert: Dark chocolate with cherries.
Who should try the Mediterranean diet?
If you have hypertension, hyperlipidemia or inflammatory issues, or if you’re at risk of stroke, your doctor or dietitian may recommend this diet for you — but anyone can try it.
“It can help reduce the development or progression of chronic diseases,” says Newhard.
Here are some of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet:
- Reduced risk of (or help managing) chronic disease, particularly heart disease
- Less inflammation
- Slower cognitive decline with age
“If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, talk to a nutritionist near you,” says Newhard. “We can help you understand how it would satisfy your individual needs.”
See our nutritional supplements checklist to help support a healthy diet
Looking for more? Explore our dietitian-approved recipes
Find a nutritionist near you