What is the Mediterranean Diet? Is it Good for Me?

Foods part of the Mediterranean diet like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts

The Mediterranean Diet is often recommended to help reduce the risk of certain diseases. What is the Mediterranean diet? What disease can it be beneficial for? Should you try it? Read this article to find out.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet follows the eating pattern of countries around the Mediterranean Sea, like Italy, Spain and Morocco. It has been studied often in research to see if it helps prevent or improve diseases like arthritis, dementia and heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet is high in:

It also includes fish and seafood, some amounts of dairy products and lower amounts of meat. It is low in sugar and highly processed foods. Overall, the Mediterranean diet is low in saturated fat and higher in monounsaturated fat – a type of healthy fat found in olive oil, nuts and seeds. Read more about the different types of fats and where to find them here.

What are the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet?

Following a Mediterranean eating pattern may help:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and peripheral arterial disease

  • Reduce the risk cognitive decline and dementia

  • Help prevent colorectal, lung or liver cancer

Overall, the Mediterranean diet is nutritious and is high in fibre, including soluble fibre, antioxidants, omega-3 fats, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals like potassium and B vitamins. It is low in saturated and trans fat and added sugar.

What are some examples of meals following the Mediterranean diet?

Breakfast examples:

  • Whole grain bread with peanut butter, mixed berries (fresh or frozen)

  • Oatmeal made with low fat milk topped with dried fruit and nuts

  • Scrambled egg with spinach sauteed in olive oil, whole grain bread and a pear

Lunch examples:

Dinner examples:


  • Unsalted almonds

  • Fruit

  • Low fat Greek yogurt with blueberries

  • Trail mix

  • Apple slices with nut butter

How can a dietitian help?

A dietitian can help you decide if a Mediterranean diet is right for you. They will review your medical history, preferences, lifestyle and culture to help choose an eating plan that is right for you. Most employee health benefit plans cover dietitian services. Connect with a dietitian today!

Bottom line

The Mediterranean diet is a nutritious way to eat and may help reduce the risk of diseases like stroke and heart disease.

You may also be interested in:

What are the Benefits of Eating More Plant-Based Foods?
Facts on Soluble Fibre
All About Beans
This article was written and reviewed by dietitians from Dietitians of Canada. The advice in this article is intended as general information and should not replace advice given by your dietitian or healthcare provider.

Last Update – February 18, 2023

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