What is The Mediterranean Diet?

© 2020 Tulia

What is The Mediterranean Diet?

3 min read

The Mediterranean Diet is based on foods that people have consumed for centuries in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The historic eating habits of countries like Italy, Greece, Israel, Spain & France contribute to what we call ‘The Mediterranean Diet’.

At its core The Mediterranean Diet embraces rich, flavorful whole foods which are native to the Mediterranean region. The cornerstones of the diet are fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and olive oil. 

But unlike most diets, The Mediterranean Diet does not have a rigid set of dos-and-don'ts. Instead it is about adopting regular eating habits and consuming certain types of foods only occasionally. 

Which countries border the Mediterranean?

  • Europe has 6: France, Spain, Monaco, Italy, Greece & Malta
  • Africa has five: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria & Morocco
  • Asia has four Syria, Lebanon, Israel & Cyprus
  • Plus Turkey which is partly in Europe and Asia




Why is The Mediterranean Diet ranked #1 by U.S News & World Report for 5 consecutive years?

It is generally accepted that The Mediterranean Diet provides all the necessary nutrients your body needs. Meaning the typical foods of the diet provide a balance of the recommended types of carbs, protein and healthy fats. The impact is a diet that helps “sustain your energy levels, promote well-being and guard against chronic health concerns” -according to U.S News ↗️.

The National Library of Medicine reports that The Mediterranean Diet may lower risk of heart disease and stroke (study1 ↗️), lower blood pressure (study2 ↗️) and decrease the progression of atherosclerosis (study3 ↗️). 


So, how can you follow The Mediterranean Diet?

You can take inspiration from Tulia’s Mediterranean Diet pyramid. Below are a selection of foods that are consistent with The Mediterranean Diet which can be consumed either daily (as a basis for most meals), in moderation (2-3 times per week) and occasionally (eat sparingly, less often the better). 


Daily consumption: 

Fruits:Dates, figs, olives, strawberries, grapes, oranges, apples, apricot, peaches

Vegetables: Beets, eggplant, zucchini, squash, peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, cucumber, spinach, kale, broccoli

Legumes: Chickpeas, peas, lentils & beans

Nuts: Almonds - including almond butter, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews

Whole grains: Oats, whole wheat pasta, barley, corn, bulgar, couscous polenta

Spices: Garlic, turmeric, basil, rosemary, sage, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, mint, pepper, cloves, fennel, parsley, saffron, thyme

Extra virgin olive oil


In Moderation

Fish: Salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, herring, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels

Poultry: Chicken, duck, turkey

Dairy: Eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk


Only Occasionally

Red meat & refined sugars


What should you avoid?

A core principle of the Mediterranean diet is natural foods, so there are types of foods you should avoid. 

Processed foods: Fast food, convenience and microwaveable meals, and granola bars with additional ingredients

Trans fats: These are found in margarine and fried foods

Processed meat: Sausages, hot dogs, beef jerky, and deli meats

Refined grains: White bread, chips, and crackers

Refined oils: Soybean oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil


Can you drink alcohol as part of The Mediterranean Diet?

Wine is embraced on the Mediterranean Diet. Red wine is the most popular wine choice, as it contains more antioxidants compared to white or rose. The Mediterranean-way of drinking alcohol is moderate consumption together with great food and friends.


Lastly, you can take some inspiration from Tulia's recipes below:


Mediterranean Meals Recipes:

Roasted butternut squash with raisins and cashew

Vegetable couscous

Eggplant Rollatini

Lemon and Garlic Potatoes

Cauliflower and Mushroom Stuffed Tomatoes

Spaghetti with Roasted Pepper Pesto

Rice and Spinach Pies



Mediterranean Breakfast Recipes:

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Apple Cinnamon Sauce

Breakfast Smoothie Bowl with Blueberry, Millet, and Oats



Mediterranean Snacks Recipes:

Hummus with Caramelized Onions

Wishing you good health!