A total diet and lifestyle approach continues to be one of the best prescriptions for a long, healthy life.
There’s no single Mediterranean diet plan, but in general, you'd be eating lots of fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, healthy grains, fish, olive oil, small amounts of meat and dairy, and red wine.
This lifestyle also encourages daily exercise, sharing meals with others, and enjoying it all.
Does It Work?
This diet scores big for heart health. Studies suggest it can make you less likely to get heart disease, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and may also help you avoid certain cancers and chronic diseases.
For weight loss, you’ll have better results if you stick with it more than six months, get regular exercise, and cut back on how much you eat. Studies show it may be better for weight loss than a low-fat diet.
What You Can Eat and What You Can't
You’ll eat mostly plant-based foods, including fruits and vegetables, potatoes, whole-grain bread, beans, nuts, and seeds.
You can have yogurt, cheese, poultry, and eggs in small portions. You should eat fish and seafood at least twice a week. "Good" fats get a stamp of approval: Think olives, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, sunflower seeds, and avocados instead of butter or margarine. You’ll use olive oil a lot while cooking. Reach for herbs and spices to add flavor.
Red wine gets a thumbs-up, in moderation (one glass for women, one to two for men). But water is your go-to drink.
Dessert is usually fruit. Sweets and red meats are OK occasionally.