Discover 5 Reasons to Eat the Mediterranean Way

Have you heard of the Mediterranean eating pattern and wondered if it actually lives up to the hype? Well, researchers, doctors and dietitians talk it up as one of the healthiest, and most sustainable eating patterns in the world. Plus, US News & Health has ranked it #1 for the past 6 years in a row.

Let’s dive into the top 5 reasons you should give the Mediterranean eating pattern a try!

#1. Protects Your Heart – A ton of research has been done on the Med pattern and heart health. And study after study continues to back up the facts, the foods of the Med pattern help to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. With heart disease the #1 killer in the United States, I’d say this is a good reason to give the Mediterranean eating pattern a go!

#2. Fights Inflammation – Inflammation seems to be a buzz word these days so I’ll break it down a bit. Inflammation is our body’s immune system response to injury or infection. Our immune system sends out white blood cells to surround the area to help with healing. Chronic inflammation is the big problem. Chronic inflammation is when the body continues to send out inflammatory cells even when there is no danger. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory cells attack joints leading to an inflammation. Thus, chronic inflammation is associated with certain diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Arthritis, certain Cancers, Asthma, Alzheimer’s Disease and Heart Disease.

The foods in the Mediterranean eating pattern are Anti-inflammatory, meaning they fight this inflammation. The antioxidants in these foods fight free radicals by donating an electron and making them stable.

So, what does all this science mean for you? Reducing inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods is beneficial to all cells in the body.

#3. Boosts Your Brain – This might be THE most exciting aspect of the Mediterranean eating pattern. “Higher adherence to a MedDiet is associated with slower rates of cognitive decline, reduce conversion to Alzheimer’s disease, and improvements in cognitive function.” 1

What does that mean? Well, eating the Med way is protective to our brain as we age, and can reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, and that is awesome.

#4. Good for Your Gut – Our digestive system has trillions of bacteria living inside, both good bacteria and bad bacteria. These bacteria are called our gut-microbiome and lots of research has shown the link between our gut health and our overall health. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and healthy fats increases the good bacteria in our digestive system.

On the other hand, foods that increase the bad bacteria in our gut include highly processed foods, fast foods, refined sugar foods, lots of red meat.

The variety and fiber in the Mediterranean pattern increase the good bacteria in our gut, which helps to boost our overall health.

#5. It’s Easy & Delicious – The best part of this eating pattern is that it is NOT a diet. Let me repeat that, it is NOT a diet. It is a style of eating with lots of flexibility. You will eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, healthy fats, fish, herbs and spices. You CAN eat bread and have dessert, it is all about choosing a variety of whole foods. Plus, its so delicious. Black bean salad with avocado citrus dressing, zucchini pasta, chocolate dipped fruit, all these foods fit!


  1. Hardman RJ, Kennedy G, Macpherson H, Scholey AB, Pipingas A. Adherence to a Mediterranean-Style Diet and Effects
    on Cognition in Adults: A Qualitative Evaluation and Systematic Review of Longitudinal and Prospective Trials. Front Nutr. 2016;3. doi:10.3389/fnut.2016.00022
  2. Nani A, Murtaza B, Sayed Khan A, Khan NA, Hichami A. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Potential of Polyphenols Contained in Mediterranean Diet in Obesity: Molecular Mechanisms. Molecules. 2021;26(4):985. doi:10.3390/molecules26040985
  3. Woodside J, Young IS, McKinley MC. Culturally adapting the Mediterranean Diet pattern – a way of promoting more ‘sustainable’ dietary change? Br J Nutr. 2022;128(4):693-703. doi:10.1017/S0007114522001945
  4. Merra G, Noce A, Marrone G, et al. Influence of Mediterranean Diet on Human Gut Microbiota. Nutrients. 2020;13(1):7. doi:10.3390/nu13010007
  5. Rosato V, Temple NJ, La Vecchia C, Castellan G, Tavani A, Guercio V. Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Eur J Nutr. 2019;58(1):173-191. doi:10.1007/s00394-017-1582-0
  6. Pollicino F, Veronese N, Dominguez LJ, Barbagallo M. Mediterranean diet and mitochondria: New findings. Experimental Gerontology. 2023;176:112165. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2023.112165
  7. Caso F, Navarini L, Carubbi F, et al. Mediterranean diet and Psoriatic Arthritis activity: a multicenter cross-sectional study. Rheumatol Int. 2020;40(6):951-958. doi:10.1007/s00296-019-04458-7
  8. Ballarini T, Melo Van Lent D, Brunner J, et al. Mediterranean Diet, Alzheimer Disease Biomarkers, and Brain Atrophy in Old Age. Neurology. 2021;96(24):e2920-e2932. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000012067
  9. Martínez-González MA, Gea A, Ruiz-Canela M. The Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Health: A Critical Review. Circ Res. 2019;124(5):779-798. doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313348
  10. UEG Week: Plant-based foods and Mediterranean diet associated with healthy gut microbiome, research reveals. Accessed August 23, 2023.

10 Ways to Help Kids Eat More Fruit & Veggies

Photo by Yan Krukau:

I hear from many parents tales of dinner time battles with their kids about eating their vegetables. This frustrating scene plays over and over each night with parents trying every tactic possible (bargaining, pleading, demanding, “no dessert if you don’t eat your veggies!”).

As parents the concern for children to eat a healthy meal comes from a good place. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that not only help children’s development but have also been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. So, why do some kids refuse? Well, some veggies are bitter, dark leafy greens I’m looking at you, some may not look appealing, others are new to kids who would rather have something they are familiar with.

The good news is if you are concerned about your kids vegetable and fruit intake, you are already on the right track by reading these tips. And, think back to your childhood, what vegetable or fruit did you dislike then that you like now? I’m sure there’s a few!

Here are 10 tips to help kids eat more fruit and vegetables:

  1. Autonomy is everything (to kiddos) – How many times as your child urged you to let them pick out the shirt they are going to wear or demanded they can do it themselves (whatever the “it” might be for the day)? In the spirit of autonomy, the next time you go to the grocery let your child choose one fruit or vegetable they want to try.
  2. Go Raw and Colorful –  Slice a few vegetables and serve them raw for kids to try. Even adults don’t want to eat mushy green beans.
  3. All about the DIP! Who doesn’t love some ranch or hummus to dip fresh veg into? For fruit try chocolate hummus for a new, protein and fiber-packed dip.
  4.  Let their inner Chef Shine – Engaging children in the cooking process has been shown to create a greater acceptance of eating a variety of foods.
  5. Keep them in plain site – As a mom and dietitian, I’m not a big fan of hiding foods. My kids always want to know what is in a dish I make. Plus, being open about what you’ve cooked and why, creates conversation and an opportunity to discuss the benefits of fruits and veggies with your children.
  6. Talk Up the Benefits – When I go into schools to talk about how great whole foods are I explain it so that kids can understand. For example, blueberries help our brains and our memory, Vitamin C in strawberries helps keep our skin healthy and helps to heal our cuts and scrapes, Vitamin D in spinach helps keep our bones strong.
  7. Set the Example – Yes this means you as the adult need to eat your fruits and veggies too! Kids want to be just like their parents.
  8. Smoothie for the Win – Smoothies are a simple and fun way to add fruit and vegetables to a child’s eating pattern. And hey, if you let them pick the ingredients (with a few helpful suggestions) they are likely more willing to try it.
  9. Put Them on Repeat – Exposure is key when trying to get kids and adults to like a particular food. In fact, it often takes 10-15 tries to really determine if you like a food or not.
  10. Take the Pressure Off – Encourage kiddos to try fruits and veggies without pressure and fear of repercussions. Taking the pressure off, (no more bargaining or pleading!) takes stress off the entire family meal.