The dieta mediterranea piramide alimentare differs from the USDA one in several ways. For starters, it reorganizes the foods into groups that reflect their nutritional contribution, Knudsen says. For example, the Mediterranean pyramid groups together the foods (like beans, olives and whole grains) that provide a good amount of both protein and carbs. By contrast, the USDA food pyramid separates them into categories that give you only a limited view of their combined contribution.
The base of the Mediterranean pyramid includes the foods you should eat every day, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, nuts and legumes. The next level in the pyramid includes the foods you should eat at least twice a week, like fish and seafood, dairy products (like low-fat yogurt and traditional cheese), and poultry and eggs. The last level of the pyramid represents the foods you should eat only occasionally, like red meat and saturated fats, and sweets.
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid: Navigating Nutritional Wellness the Mediterranean Way
This dietary pattern has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also been shown to help lower blood pressure and improve mental health.
The dietary pattern is based on the eating habits of people who live in Crete, Greece and southern Italy around 1960 when rates of chronic diseases were among the lowest in the world. In addition to healthy eating, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes regular physical activity and social interactions. It is also rich in nutrients, including healthy monounsaturated fats from olive oil.