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September 8, 2021

The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The Mediterranean diet is an excellent example of a healthy eating pattern that incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables and other plant-based foods. Animal-based foods are limited to fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy, and unprocessed lean meat in moderation. Sustainably and organically grown foods are preferable. A healthy lifestyle and exercise are important as well.

Source: Serra-Majem, Lluís et al. “Updating the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid towards Sustainability: Focus on Environmental Concerns.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 17,23 8758. 25 Nov. 2020, doi:10.3390/ijerph17238758 [R] This article is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ([R]).

The core of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid (MDP) is based on plant foods and is responsible for the prevention of numerous chronic diseases and for healthy weight management, as well as for reduced use of natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions. Plant foods produced by agroecological methods (free from chemical pesticides) can markedly minimize human and nature’s exposure to pesticides.

Consuming a variety of colors of both vegetables and fruit is strongly recommended to help ensure intake of a broad range of micronutrients and phytochemicals. The less these foods are cooked, the higher the retention of vitamins and the lower use of fuel, thus minimizing environmental impact.

The preference should always be for fresh, seasonal, and minimally processed vegetables and fruits. Similarly, choosing local cereal-based products (i.e., bread, couscous, polenta, pasta, rice, etc.) when possible and available will support the local economy and reduce the ecologic impact of the production chain. Adequate water intake of 2-2.5 liters per day is also essential.

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