Home Heart Health Recipes What is a Mediterranean diet, why is it considered healthy and what are some of the best recipes?

What is a Mediterranean diet, why is it considered healthy and what are some of the best recipes?

5 min read

A MEDITERRANEAN diet is the foods eaten by people in countries which border the Mediterranean Sea, including France, Greece, Italy and Spain.

With the food influenced by the sun and the ocean, people often rave about their dinners when returning from a holiday to the Med.

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The diet is rich in antioxidants

What is a Mediterranean diet?

A Mediterranean diet is high in foods which are good for you, and low in naughty foods, such as those with a high sugar content.

The NHS explains: “The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions.

“But in general, it's high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.

“It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.”

 People usually eat together in Mediterranean countries


People usually eat together in Mediterranean countries

Butter is often replaced with healthy fats such as olive oil, and salt is substituted for herbs and spices to flavour food.

It has less red meat but lots of poultry and fish, and also includes liberal amounts of red wine.

And while it’s not a foodstuff, exercise and eating meals with family and friends is characterised by the Med diet.

Why is it considered so healthy?

This diet has been proven to be beneficial for the heart, even helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.

This is partly due to the foods having less ‘bad’ cholesterol, which is what builds up and clogs the arteries.

The NHS says: “The Mediterranean diet has been linked with good health, including a healthier heart.”

 The diet has been associated with reducing heart disease

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The diet has been associated with reducing heart disease

And it has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

People who follow this diet are also said to have a longer life expectancy and don’t put on weight easily.

What are some of the best recipes?

There’s plenty of delicious Mediterranean recipes, but you can make overall changes in your diet to make it healthier.

The NHS recommends:

  • Eating plenty of starchy foods, such as bread and pasta
  • Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Including fish in your diet
  • Eating less meat
  • Choosing products made from vegetable and plant oils, such as olive oil


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And BBC Good Food has a selection of easy recipes you can follow.

These include shaved fennel, courgette and orange salad and spring chicken paella.

We love the simple fish stew.

Give the Italians a run for their money with this homemade pesto recip

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