Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The Mediterranean Diet pyramid is very simple and focuses on the consumption of healthy unrefined, unprocessed foods.

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid History

The pyramid was developed by Oldways, Harvard School of Public Health and the European Office of the World Health Organization in 1993. This pyramid continues to be on of the best known visual guides to the Mediterranean diet and is considered the “gold standard” eating pattern that promotes lifelong good health.

The Mediterranean diet pyramid was created using the most current nutrition research to the represent a traditional healthy Mediterranean diet. The diet was based on the 1960 dietary traditions of Greece, Crete and southern Italy. During this time chronic disease was among the lowest in the world and adult life expectancy was among the highest even though medical services were limited.

The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid eating pattern

Dietary data from the Mediterranean region show that they have enjoyed the lowest recorded rates of chronic disease and highest adult life expectancy. This pattern is corroborated by more than 50 years of epidemiological and experimental nutrition research.  The frequency and amounts suggested are nonspecific as variation of the meal components was considerable. The following list contains more detail regarding the components of the Mediterranean diet.

They are: (in no particular order)

  • An abundance of vegetables
  • Minimally processed foods. Seasonly fresh foods are recommended over canned options.
  • Olive oil is the main source of fats.
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Fresh fruits as the daily dessert
  • Seafood
  • Grains
  • Red Wine – moderate consumption
  • Exercise- not a food but a big component of the Mediterranean lifestyle

For a more complete listing visit the Mediterranean Diet Food list. You may also want to read the Mediterranean Diet food glossary to get familiar with some new food terms.

The following chart will help you better understand the food components of the Mediterranean Diet and how they are consumed.

Eat Monthly: Red Meat

Eat Weekly: Sweets, Eggs, Potatoes, Olives, Legumes, Nuts, Poultry, Fish

Eat Daily: Dairy, Olive Oil (used in cooking), Fruit, Vegetables, Non-refined grains. (whole grain bread and pasta, brown rice, etc), Red Wine – In moderation.