The Mediterranean diet is not a specific diet plan or diet program but a collection of eating habits that are traditionally followed by the people of the Mediterranean region. There are at least 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and food habits vary between these countries according to culture, ethnic background and religion. But there are a number of characteristics common to them all.
- A high consumption of fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans, nuts, seeds, bread and other cereals
- Olive oil used for cooking and dressings
- Moderate amounts of fish but little meat
- Low to moderate amounts of full fat cheese and yogurt
- Moderate consumption of wine, usually with meals
- Reliance on local, seasonal, fresh produce
- An active lifestyle