Mediterranean Diet: Beyond Olive Oil

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

Olive oil is just one component of the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is really a lifestyle and way of eating that includes a combination of fresh, healthy foods with physical activity and social interaction. While we clearly do not live in the Mediterranean, there are certain healthy dietary practices we can adopt easily.

Characteristics of the Mediterranean diet include:

  • Abundance of food from plant sources (fruits, vegetables, potatoes, breads, grains, beans, nuts and seeds).

  • Olive oil as the principle fat, replacing other fats and oils (including butter, margarine and other vegetable oils).

  • Total fat may range from 25-35% of the diet with no more than 7 to 8 % of calories coming from saturated fat.

  • Daily consumption of low to moderate amounts of cheese and yogurt (low fat and nonfat may be preferable).

  • Consumption of low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry several times a week (research favors fish over poultry).

  • Fresh fruit as a typical daily dessert; sweets are consumed not more than a few times per week.

  • Red meat consumed only a few times per month (12-16 oz/month).

  • Moderate consumption of wine (optional: should be avoided when consumption would put an individual or others at risk). Moderation = 1 glass/day for a woman and up to 2/day for a man.


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