The Healthy Mediterranean Diet

Hubby and I have pretty much always followed the Mediterranean diet since we’ve been in Italy.

But lately we’re really stepping it up. The older we get, the easier it is to put on weight. And that’s one thing we don’t need. Plus our cholesterol levels have crept up lately, which is bad for our hearts. So we’ve greatly decreased cheese consumption which I’m sure will do the trick. The cheese here is marvelous and we have a major addiction!

Have you ever thought about adopting the Mediterranean diet?


It’s known as one of the healthiest in the world. And with its high base of healthy olive oil, unrefined cereals, fruits, and vegetables, it’s no wonder! Here in Italy we usually see a high proportion of fresh fruits and vegies in shopping baskets! Yet over time, white-flour bread and pasta took over the diet here, with its decisive health dangers. But as of late healthy whole grains are making a strong comeback. Especially in our home!!

But did you know that the Mediterranean diet is so important that it’s listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage? This list aims at ensuring better protection of important, but intangible, cultural heritages and promoting awareness of their significance. Those intangible elements that diversify one culture from another: their unique lifestyles, traditions, and creative traditions.

So while it may seem odd to find a diet on this list, I think it’s quite apropos. Because a passion for good food and proper preparation of it is an intrinsic part of the Mediterranean cultures, comprising Greece, southern Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Cyprus, and Croatia.

What does the Mediterranean diet consist of?

  1. Daily exercise and weight control
  2. Plenty of fresh water
  3. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables — especially dark leafy vegetables, and non-starchy ones
  4. Olive oil as the main fat
  5. Nuts and seeds — often placed on the table along with the fruit.
  6. Legumes and beans
  7. Herbs and spices — especially basil, oregano, parsley, and rosemary
  8. Whole grains
  9. Fish and seafood —at least twice weekly
  10. Poultry, eggs, cheese, dairy, and yogurt — in moderation
  11. Red meat — once per week or on special occasions
  12. Some coffee or tea
  13. Red wine — one glass per day

Just as we see in the following food pyramid. Except that modern versions make fruits and vegetables the largest category, with whole grains just above it. And the oils of course should never be consumed in high quantities.

Why is it so healthy?

  1. It’s filling, but not fattening!
  2. It’s delicious and varied — which makes it easy to follow and stick to!
  3. It’s high in fiber.
  4. It’s chock full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
  5. It’s low in processed foods and sugar.
  6. It’s loaded with anti-inflammatory foods so it helps fight disease.

What health benefits can it bring?

  1. Reduced risk of heart disease.
  2. Lower cholesterol levels.
  3. Possible increased longevity.
  4. Can help fight and treat diabetes.
  5. Can help fight cancer and other diseases.
  6. Can help in weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight.
  7. It protects cognitive health and can improve mood.
  8. The leisurely pace involved in this overall lifestyle can also help combat stress and aid relaxation!

Give The Mediterranean Diet a try! More than a diet or a diet plan, it’s a food lifestyle. One that is simple, healthy, and tasty!

And with The Mediterranean Diet, getting healthy has never been so enjoyable!!

Image credits: Cabbages ©; Vegetables on table via Pixabay.comFood pyramid via wikimedia, Public Domain.

Author: Sheila Scorziello

American born, Italian at heart. Happily married over 40 years, living in Italy almost 30. Mom of two and nonna to 9 grandkids. Missionary with a passion for showing God's love in practical ways, honoring God by caring for his creation, and helping others taste and see that the Lord is good!

10 thoughts

  1. We traveled in Italy last Spring… spent over a month eating Mediterranean and walking a lot… We ate a lot and yet, lost weight. I know from experience that you are absolutely right! Excellent post! ❤ ❤


    1. It’s great. And the very best part is that it’s a yummy, delectable way to stay healthy!! Also, I’ve found that since eliminating all processed foods – I can’t even abide the taste of them. They just don’t taste like food!! What areas of Italy did you see?


  2. Sheila, that’s my kind of diet! Not sure I ever told you, I worked in Italy a lot, back when I was secretary general for an international public television body. It became a kind of second home and I still miss it. Your posts are a joy to read.


      1. I do hope, Sheila. There’s much of Italy to see — I frequently worked in Florence and occasionally worked in Turin and Rome, but I’d love to return just to visit – no work!


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