Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the most long-standing styles of eating for good health and longevity and is definitely here to stay. It’s a healthier way of living, emphasizing heart-healthy, plant-based meals made with pure, unprocessed ingredients that include beans and legumes, land plenty of fruits, veggies and olive oil. By sticking to the principles of this diet, you can reap incredible benefits like a longer life expectancy and healthier bones. We didn’t think it was even possible, but now, there’s a new spin on the Mediterranean diet that’s even better than the original. It’s called the green Mediterranean diet, and it has the potential to offer more heart-health benefits. Though it’s still quite new, the green Mediterranean diet is already capturing attention with an increased emphasis on plants and other green foods.
What is the green Mediterranean diet?
Simply put, the green Mediterranean diet is an even healthier version of the Mediterranean diet. It builds on the same staples, increasing the amount of green foods you’re eating. Green Med focuses on more plants as your primary source of protein.
Like the Mediterranean diet, this new version focuses on healthy fats, whole grains, and plenty of vegetables. However, the green Mediterranean diet refines your food choices a bit more, increasing your fiber. It’s literally a greener spin – you’ll eat more greens, both in veggie form and via a particular green plant.
There are three other details you need to know in order to follow the green Mediterranean diet. You’ll snack on more nuts, eating 28 grams of walnuts per day. The diet also includes three cups of green tea (or more) daily.
You’ll also introduce a new plant into your meals each day: Wolffia globosa, a byproduct of duckweed. Duckweed is a tiny, bright green aquatic plant that tends to grow in freshwater or slow-moving bodies of water, and it features a high level of nutrients. For the green Mediterranean diet, you’ll add 100 milligrams of the wolffia globosa variety each day as a supplement. Typically available in powder or ice cube form, you can drink it to get your recommended daily total.
Research published in Heart found that adding walnuts, green tea, and wolffia globosa into the mix helped prevent any potential nutritional deficiencies that might appear as the result of reduced meat consumption. Wolffia globosa in particular packs plenty of protein, helping to balance out your nutrients while you go green Med.
So, the basics of the green Mediterranean diet are pretty simple. It’s the Mediterranean diet you already know, with more emphasis on plants and different protein sources.
Going “green Med” is even better for your health
It’s no secret that the Mediterranean diet is great for your short- and long-term health. But the green Mediterranean diet is even better, offering noticeable improvements in heart health in particular.
Researchers discovered that when people followed the green Mediterranean diet, they saw more health benefits than those following a low-calorie Mediterranean diet or a standard healthy diet. Those who stuck with green Med eating habits saw improvements in their heart health, lowering their risk for potential illnesses. The diet led to lower body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and even C-reactive protein, an inflammatory indicator.
By lowering these critical heart health components, the green Mediterranean diet may hold promise for those who want to prevent problems. It may also offer particularly great benefits for those who are worried about inflammation, high cholesterol or extra weight.
It’s a perfect fit for vegetarians and flexitarians
Because the green Mediterranean diet emphasizes different types of protein, favoring plants and nuts over animal proteins, it can be both a vegetarian- and flexitarian-friendly diet.
While the traditional Mediterranean diet highlights seafood in favor of red meat and limits dairy, the green version is all about plants. It eliminates red meat completely and encourages you to cut back significantly on other animal protein sources. Going green means you’ll also limit your egg and dairy consumption, or even eliminate these foods completely if you’d like.
With greater emphasis on nuts, seeds, legumes, and plants, the foundation of this variation is all about moving away from animal products of all kinds.
That makes the green Mediterranean diet a great choice for anyone who’s been thinking about going vegetarian or mostly plant-based – or vegetarians who’ve always wanted to give Mediterranean a try.
How to tweak the Mediterranean diet and go green
If you’re already a fan of the classic Mediterranean diet, you’ll want to give the green version a try. It packs even more potential health benefits than the original. It’s also a great opportunity to work more plant-based proteins into every meal.
Whether you’re looking to cut down on your meat consumption, improve your health for the future, or simply want to give different proteins a try, the green Mediterranean diet offers a simple plan to stick with.
As you begin the green Mediterranean diet, focus on these staples:
- Produce of any kind
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Green tea
- Wolffia globosa
To get the biggest benefits of this diet, you’ll want to pay special attention to your green tea consumption. Three to four cups is the recommended amount each day. And wolffia globosa is also important to supplement your new eating habits for well-rounded nutrition.
Related Content: Age Gracefully with Plant Phytochemicals
From Clean Eating