The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet overlap to a large extent with the health benefits of consuming extra virgin olive oil. This is partly due to the heavy use of extra virgin olive in the Mediterranean diet, as well as the complementary nature of nutrients in this diet with the nutrients in extra virgin olive oil.
The Mediterranean diet is well-known for reducing the risk of developing heart disease and cancer, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. It also helps fight cognitive decline and is successful as a weight-reduction method.
The Mediterranean diet food pyramid shows a breakdown of key foods of the diet according to how often they should be consumed. The principles behind this diet include eating
- mainly plant-based foods on a daily basis, including a variety of grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts
- moderate portions of dairy products, daily
- fish and poultry at least twice a week
- red meat a few times a month
- olive oil, preferably extra virgin, on a daily basis, and in place of butter or margarine
The above guidelines are complemented by the additional recommendations to drink plenty of water, consume moderate amounts of red wine, and engage in some daily physical activity. In addition, it is strongly recommended to avoid eating processed foods.