The information below is provided by The Mayo Clinic. It explains why this diet is considered a healthy-eating plan.
Why the Mediterranean diet?
Interest in the diet began in the 1950s when it was noted that heart disease was not as common in Mediterranean countries as it was in the U.S. Since then, numerous studies have confirmed that the Mediterranean diet helps prevent heart disease and stroke.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that's based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.
Plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, are the foundation of the diet. Olive oil is the main source of added fat.
Healthy fats instead of unhealthy ones
Olive oil is the primary source of added fat in the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil provides monounsaturated fat, which lowers total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (or "bad") cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds also contain monounsaturated fat.
Fatty fish, such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fats help fight inflammation in the body.
What about wine?
Wine is often associated with the Mediterranean diet. It can be included but only in moderation. While alcohol may reduce the risk of heart disease, it has other health risks.