The Complete Mediterranean Diet Food List

The Complete Mediterranean Diet Food List 

The Mediterranean diet is a great way to improve your heart health, reduce inflammation, lose weight, protect your brain, and improve overall health and wellness! Plus, it has been voted number one overall diet by US News and Report for the past 5 years. If you are looking for a healthy diet plan, then be sure to give the Mediterranean diet a try. 

The ingredients on this list are known to support health and well-being since Greco-Roman times. Still today, along with enhanced ingredients, there are many tasty and timeless recipes you can, and the ingredients are easy to find. In this blog, we will give you the complete Mediterranean Diet food list to help inspire your Mediterranean diet meals for the future. 

The Mediterranean Diet

A Timeless Diet for a Healthy Life 

The Mediterranean way of eating has been around for centuries. It originated in the Mediterranean region, where people have a lower incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other health problems. The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional food groups of this area, which include fish, legumes, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, and fruit. 

Recent science has proven that the Mediterranean diet is related to improved all-around heart health and overall well-being. This is likely because the diet focuses on eating only all-natural, healthy foods like whole grains, fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. 

Overall, the Mediterranean diet is known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. So, if you are looking for an all-around healthy diet plan that will also help improve your heart health, the Mediterranean diet may be perfect for you! 

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects as well. This is due to the high intake of omega-three fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber present in Mediterranean diets. All these nutrients have been shown to help improve inflammatory conditions like arthritis, asthma, and Crohn’s disease. 

We all know that Mediterranean dishes are usually filled with delicious extra virgin olive oil, but what else do we typically see? We have a full list of Mediterranean diet ingredients and some ideas on how to make your own Mediterranean meals at home. 

The Mediterranean Food Pyramid 

The Mediterranean Diet Food Pryamid

The top of the Mediterranean food pyramid contains foods like lean red meats and sweets. These foods should be eaten in moderation, as they are not as healthy as the other foods on the pyramid.  

The bottom of the pyramid contains foods like fruits and vegetables, which are the most healthy and nutritious options on the Mediterranean diet that should be eaten with every meal. 

Poultry, eggs, cheeses, and yogurts are second from the top level on the food pyramid and meant to be eaten in moderation. These foods are high in protein and calcium, but they also contain a lot of fat and cholesterol. They should only be eaten occasionally, as they are not as healthy as the other foods on the Mediterranean diet. 

Fish, legumes, and nuts are second to the bottom of the food pyramid. These foods are packed with nutrients and healthy fats, making them some of the best options on the Mediterranean diet. They should be eaten frequently, as they are extremely healthy and nutritious. 

The last group of foods on the pyramid is whole grains. These foods are high in fiber and nutrients, making them a healthy option for anyone looking to follow the Mediterranean diet. They should be eaten every day, as they are one of the healthiest options on the Mediterranean diet and provide your body with plenty of fuel. 

Mediterranean Diet Food List - Popular ingredients 

There are endless ways you can use the ingredients on this food list to make heart-healthy, tasty meals. When you eat the Mediterranean way, it means you will be utilizing lots of plant-based ingredients as well as lean meats and plenty of herbs and spices. 

What is on the Mediterranean diet food list? Below is an overview of what is part of a typical Mediterranean diet. 

Typical Mediterranean Diet Foods 

The Mediterranean diet is a mostly plant-based diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. This healthy diet is based on whole, natural foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. All sorts of plant-based foods are on part of the Mediterranean diet, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. 

One of the best things about this diet is there are no specific restrictions. This means that you can enjoy a variety of delicious foods while still following a healthy, nutritious diet. To help you get started, here is a list of some typical Mediterranean foods that you can enjoy: 

  • Fresh vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and green beans 
  • Fruits, such as apples, bananas, grapes, and strawberries 
  • Whole grain bread and flatbreads 
  • Whole grains, such as quinoa and brown rice 
  • Legumes, such as black beans and lentils 
  • Nuts, including almonds and pistachios 
  • Seeds, such as chia and hemp 
  • Olive oil 
  • Red wine 
  • Fish, such as salmon and tuna 
  • Chicken or turkey 
  • Eggs 
  • Cheeses, including feta and goat cheese 

Healthy Fats Like Extra Virgin Olive Oil and More 

The Mediterranean diet is a balanced way of eating that includes healthy fats known as Omega 3 Fatty Acids. These healthy fats are important for keeping your body healthy and functioning properly. Some of these healthiest fats include Omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can help improve your mood, cognitive function, and heart health. 

Olives are a common ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. The most common type of fat used in this diet is extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which are known for their health benefits. Some of these benefits include reducing the risk of heart disease and improving cholesterol levels. 

Nuts and seeds are also excellent sources of healthy fats and protein. They are a wonderful way to get energy and along with whole grains. Some of the healthiest nuts and seeds include almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. All of these provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. 

Avocados are another excellent source of healthy fats. This fruit is high in monounsaturated fats, which can help improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Avocados are also a reliable source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

By including these healthy fats in your diet, you will be able to improve your overall health and wellbeing. The Mediterranean diet is one of the best ways to get these healthy fats, as well as other important nutrients. Try incorporating some of these foods into your next meal and see how you feel! 

Healthy fats like Olive oil

Heart Healthy Whole Grains 

Whole grains are an important part of the Mediterranean diet. They are high in fiber and low in sugar, making them a healthy and nutritious choice. In addition to being good for you, whole grains are also delicious and versatile. They can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, making them a perfect addition to any meal. 

Heart Healthy Whole Grains

Meat and Dairy in the Mediterranean Diet 

Another significant part of the Mediterranean diet is dairy products. Dairy provides many essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. 

Dairy products are a reliable source of calcium and protein, and red meat is a good source of iron and zinc. While you should eat these foods in moderation, they can still be part of a healthy diet. 

Some of the most common meat and dairy products to eat in moderation on the Mediterranean diet include: 

  • Beef 
  • Lamb 
  • Goat 
  • Milk 
  • Greek yogurt 
  • Feta cheese 

Fruits and Vegetables 

Fruits and vegetables make up the brunt of the Mediterranean diet. Some of the most common fruits and vegetables on the Mediterranean diet include the following: 

  • Tomatoes 
  • Olives 
  • Peppers 
  • Artichokes 
  • Zucchini 
  • Eggplant 
  • Garlic 
  • Lemons 
  • Oranges 
  • Limes 
  • Bananas 
  • Blueberries 
  • Kiwi 
  • Avocado 

Fruits and vegetables of the Mediterranean Diet

Common Herbs and Spices 

Common herbs and spices of the Mediterranean Diet

These foods are eaten raw or cooked in olive oil. You can add lots of herbs and spices that help to enhance the flavor of these dishes while keeping them healthy. 

Some common herbs and spices used in the Mediterranean diet include: 

Basil 

  • A member of the mint family, basil is a widely used herb in Mediterranean cuisine. It has a sweet, anise-like flavor and is often added to pasta dishes, salads, and pesto. Basil is also high in antioxidants, which can help protect against cell damage. 

Black Pepper 

  • Black pepper is a common spice that is used to add flavor to dishes. It is also a source of an antioxidant called piperine, which has been shown to improve digestion. Black pepper can be added to cooked dishes or used as a seasoning on raw foods. 

Cayenne Pepper 

  • Cayenne pepper is a spicy chili pepper that is often used in Mexican and Indian cuisine. It has a strong, peppery flavor and can be added to dishes during cooking or served as a condiment on the side. Cayenne pepper is high in capsaicin, a compound that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Cinnamon 

  • Cinnamon is a fragrant spice that is often used in sweet dishes. It has a warm, spicy flavor and can be added to oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, or baked goods. Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Coriander 

  • Coriander is an herb that is used in many cuisines, including Indian, Thai, and Chinese. It has a slightly citrusy flavor and can be added to curries, soups, and stews. Coriander is a good source of antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Cumin 

  • Cumin is a spice that is used in many Latin American and Indian dishes. It has an earthy, nutty flavor and can be added to chili, tacos, rice, and lentils. Cumin is high in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Garlic 

  • Garlic is a popular herb that is used in many cuisines. It has a strong, pungent flavor and can be added to cooked dishes or used as a seasoning on raw foods. Garlic is high in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Ginger 

  • Ginger is a spice that is often used in Asian cuisine. It has a warm, spicy flavor and can be added to stir-fries, curries, soups, and teas. Ginger is a good source of antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Oregano 

  • Oregano is a popular herb that is used in Italian and Greek cuisine. It has a strong, pungent flavor and can be added to pasta dishes, pizzas, and salads. Oregano is high in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Paprika 

  • Paprika is a spice that is used in many Latin American and European dishes. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and can be added to chili, stews, and soups. Paprika is a good source of antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Parsley 

  • Parsley is a popular herb that is used in many dishes. It has a mild flavor and can be added to salads, pasta dishes, and rice dishes. Parsley is high in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Rosemary 

  • Rosemary is a popular herb that is used in Italian cuisine. It has a strong, pungent flavor and can be added to pasta dishes, pizzas, and salads. Rosemary is high in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Sage 

  • Sage is a popular herb that is used in Italian and American cuisine. It has a strong, peppery flavor and can be added to pasta dishes, stuffing, and gravy. Sage is high in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Thyme 

  • Thyme is a popular herb that is used in many cuisines, including French, Italian, and American. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and can be added to stews, soups, and sauces. Thyme is high in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Turmeric 

  • Turmeric is a spice that is often used in Indian cuisine. It has a warm, slightly bitter flavor and can be added to curries, rice dishes, and soups. Turmeric is a good source of antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. 

These are just a few of the many spices and herbs that are commonly used in the Mediterranean diet. Each one has its own unique flavor and can be used to add flavor to a variety of dishes.  

As you experiment with different spices and herbs, you will find that there are endless possibilities for creating delicious, healthy meals so do not be afraid to experiment and get creative in the kitchen! Who knows, you might just find a new favorite dish. 

Non-Mediterranean Diet Foods 

You will not see a lot of meats that are high in fat like bacon and sausage, which are not typically found in Mediterranean cuisine. This is because the diet is focused on healthy fats, which come from foods like olives, avocados, and nuts. These foods are not only good for you, but they also taste great. So, if you are looking to switch up your diet and try something new, the Mediterranean diet is a great option. 

The Mediterranean diet also avoids refined sugars, refined grains, and refined oils. This is because these foods are unhealthy and can cause weight gain and other health problems. Instead, the Mediterranean diet focuses on whole, unprocessed foods that are good for you. 

Moderation Is Key 

The Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle than it is a fad diet. The diet is sustainable and can be followed for the rest of your life. The best thing about the Mediterranean diet is that it is not full of rules and restrictions like other diets. If you would like a nice glass of red wine and a medium steak then you go right ahead, but in moderation. The Mediterranean diet encourages sweets, red meats, and red wine in moderation. If you focus on eating lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, and olive oil for most of your meals then you will be golden. 

Drink red wine and eat red meat on the Mediterranean diet, but in moderation.

Wrapping Up 

Now that you have a basic understanding of some of the foods, spices, and herbs that are commonly used in the Mediterranean diet, it is time to start experimenting with them in your own kitchen! As you experiment, you will find that there are endless possibilities for creating delicious, healthy meals so do not be afraid to get creative!  

What if I don't like to cook or don't have time to cook?

If you are someone who does not like to cook or does not have time to cook, then you could also lean on a Mediterranean diet meal delivery service. There is only one true Mediterranean meal delivery service in the United States, but luckily, they deliver to all 50 states with free shipping. If you are interested in learning more then click the link to explore their Mediterranean diet plan: Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan