Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle for Health and Wellness

June 2023 | Wellness Connections

By Linda Wilcox

Above view of a family sharing a meal at a dinner table with the words "mediterranean diet" over it.

Rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet is delicious, nutritious, and may help you manage your weight, promotes heart health, support healthy blood sugar levels, and protect brain function. The Mediterranean Diet really isn’t a diet in the sense that it is full of rules and restrictions but finds its roots in the traditional eating habits of people that live in the surrounding region of the Mediterranean Sea like Italy, Greece, and Liberia. There is not a single definition of the Mediterranean Diet because it focuses on overall eating patterns and healthy lifestyle factors across many different Mediterranean countries. Without strict formulas and calculations, the Mediterranean diet is flexible and can be customized to your individual needs.

The general style of eating in the Mediterranean regions includes more plant – based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, along with fish, seafood, and moderate amounts of poultry, dairy and eggs, plenty of extra -virgin olive oil as a source of healthy fat, little or not red meat, little or no sweets or processed foods, and a moderate amount of wine with meals (no need to start if you don’t already drink).

Table full of healthy foods - carrots, nuts, meats, oil, spices and greens to resemble a healthy, nutritious diet.

Overall, the focus is not the food but a way of life embracing culture, community with strong social connections, enjoying the outdoors, and incorporating movement and physical activity into everyday life. The eating styles of the Mediterranean region have been relatively unchanged for years. The concept of the Mediterranean Diet began in the 1950’s and 60’s when researchers started studying and found that people from this region had lower rates of chronic disease and better overall heathy compared to the United States and Northern Europe.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and lifestyle are many
and include:

  • Supporting a weight that is healthy for you.
  • Lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Supporting healthy levels of blood sugar, blood pressure,
  • and cholesterol,
  • Slowing the decline of brain function with aging
  • Lower risk of chronic disease and certain types of cancer.
  • Supporting a healthy balance of good bacteria and
  • microorganisms in your gut.
  • Helping you live longer.

The Mediterranean diet includes many different nutrient that all work together to help your body. There is not a single food that stands out or is responsible for all the health benefits. The Mediterranean Diet works by giving you an ideal blend of nutrients that in combination support your health and well-being. It is not a strict diet with hard and fast rules, so it can be adapted to your own needs (ideally with a dietitian’s help) and you can incorporate the beneficial principles to fit your own lifestyle and preferences. As with any eating plan, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider or dietitian before getting started or making drastic changes to your current diet. They will make sure the plan is appropriate for you and help you to modify it as needed as well as provide resources you can use at home. If you would like to learn more about the Mediterranean Diet, what it looks like, how to get started, and how it would benefit you, contact Linda at

The Mediterranean Dish -
Something Healthy –



Let’s keep it short and sweet this month with three words, IT’S SUMMER ENJOY! All the things that make it summer provide lots of opportunities to be active, play, and have fun. Find physical activity that you enjoy – do more of it – do it with friends and family – and enjoy!

Linda Wilcox, RDN, LD

Linda is our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist that uses a balanced approach to health and wellness, focusing on nutrition, movement, sleep, and connecting you with other appropriate health resources.

Linda understands and recognizes the courage needed to take the first step in caring for yourself and starting your own health and wellness journey. Learn more about Linda’s services like individual wellness and nutrition consultations, ministry and church wellness consultations, and group presentations here!

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