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The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy style of eating. It features foods eaten in Greece, Spain, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. It emphasizes eating fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fiber breads, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. These foods are rich in fiber and healthy fats. The diet limits meat, cheese, and sweets.
The fats allowed in this diet are mainly unsaturated fats. These include fish oils, olive oil, and certain seed oils (such as canola, soybean, and flaxseed) and nut oils (walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds). These types of oils may have a protective effect on the heart.
Most other heart-healthy diets recommend getting less than 35% of your calories from fat. But in the Mediterranean diet, an average of 35% to 40% of calories can come from healthy fats.
A Mediterranean-style diet may improve heart health. It contains more fat than other heart-healthy diets. But the fats are mainly from nuts, unsaturated oils (such as fish oils and olive oil), and certain nut or seed oils (such as canola, soybean, or flaxseed oil). These fats may help protect the heart and blood vessels.
Here's how to eat a traditional Mediterranean diet.
Healthy choices include grapes, blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, figs, olives, spinach, and eggplant.
Include grains such as oats, brown rice, and whole wheat bread, pasta, and couscous.
These include butter, palm oil, coconut oil, and fats found in animal products, such as meat and dairy products made with whole milk.
Make meals that include whole grains, beans, lentils, and vegetables.
Good choices include tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines.
These include low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt.
And have it in very small amounts. For example, a serving of meat is 3 ounces. That's about the size of a deck of cards.
Have them only a few times a week. This includes sugar-sweetened drinks like soda.
Limit wine to 1 glass a day if you're a woman and 2 glasses a day if you're a man.
Current as of:
February 28, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
Current as of: February 28, 2023
Clinical Review Board:
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
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