Mediterranean diet
Mediterranean diet


The Mediterranean diet is a plant-based, nutrient-rich diet that encourages intake of olive oil, fish, and moderate amounts of red wine.

Certain components of the Mediterranean diet seem to contribute to its health benefits. It's high in fiber, which can help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. It also includes a lot of healthy fats from fish, nuts, and olive oil. These fats have been linked to lower heart disease risk.

People use the Mediterranean diet for heart disease, memory and thinking skills, dementia, diabetes, and stroke. It's also used for high blood pressure, cancer, depression, weight loss, and many other purposes, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these other uses.
The Mediterranean diet is likely safe for most people. There are no known side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: The Mediterranean diet is possibly safe to use during pregnancy. Red wine should be avoided due to its alcohol content.

Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if the Mediterranean diet is safe to use when breast-feeding. But it is a well-balanced diet, so there is no reason to expect safety concerns.


NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
  • Heart disease. People without heart disease who follow the Mediterranean diet seem to have a lower risk of developing heart disease. But it's not clear if it helps people who already have heart disease.
  • Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). The Mediterranean diet seems to improve overall mental function in healthy, older adults.
  • Diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, that interfere with thinking (dementia). People who strictly follow the Mediterranean diet seem to have a lower risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer disease. But only partially following the diet doesn't seem to help.
  • Diabetes. Following the Mediterranean diet might help prevent type 2 diabetes and slightly improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. It also seems to reduce the risk for gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy.
  • Stroke. The Mediterranean diet seems to reduce the risk of stroke in people at high risk of heart disease.
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
  • High blood pressure. The Mediterranean diet doesn't seem to reduce blood pressure enough to help people with high blood pressure.
There is interest in using the Mediterranean diet for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

The Mediterranean diet is a plant-based diet that includes high amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, as well as moderate amounts of red wine and dairy products. The diet emphasizes eating more fish and less meat. It's also low in processed foods, refined grains, and sugars. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before following this diet.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines. Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods. has licensed monographs from TRC Healthcare.
This monograph was last reviewed on 07/12/2023 11:00:00 and last updated on 30/12/2020 02:16:10. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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