The traditional Mediterranean Diet pyramid

The traditional Mediterranean Diet pyramid has evolved to adopt the new way of life.

This has been an initiative of the Mediterranean Diet Foundation( and with the collaboration of numerous international entities, a wide range of experts in nutrition, anthropology, sociology and agriculture.
The new Mediterranean Diet pyramid follows the previous pattern: at the base, foods that should sustain the diet, and at the upper levels, foods to be eaten in moderate amounts. Moreover, social and cultural elements characteristic of the Mediterranean way of life are incorporated in the graphic design. So, it pays attention to
  • the way of selecting, cooking and eating them
  • the composition and number of servings of meals
  • the qualitative elements of food
The health benefits of following the instructions of the Mediterranean Diet pyramid and its protective effect against chronic diseases has been well established by the scientific community.
It’s very important the proportions and the frequencies that relies a healthy or unhealthy diet. The food consumption explained in pattern should be adapted to the specific needs of children, pregnant women and other health conditions.
The Mediterranean Diet pyramid places at the base foods of plant origin, that provide key nutrients and other protective substances that contribute to general well-being and to maintain a balanced diet. For these reasons, they should be consumed in greater proportion and frequency than foods located at the central and upper levels of the pyramid. The latter should be eaten in moderation and left for special occasions.

Let us see the Mediterranean Diet pyramid

 dietary guidelines.

Every day

the three main meals should contain three basic elements:
  • Cereals. One or two servings per meal in the form of bread, pasta, rice, couscous and others. Preferably whole grain, since some valuable nutrients (magnesium, phosphorus, etc.) and fibre can be lost during processing.
  • Vegetables. Presents at lunch and dinner; more or equal two servings per meal, at least one of the serving should be raw. A variety of colours and textures provide a diversity of antioxidants and protective compounds.
  • Fruits. One or two servings per meal. Should be chosen as the most frequent dessert.
  • A daily intake of 1.5 to 2 litres of water should be guarantied. A good hydration is essential to maintain the corporal water equilibrium, although needs may vary among people because of age, physical activity, personal circumstances and weather conditions. As well as water, non-sugar rich herbal infusions and broths (with low fat and salt content) may complete the requirements.
  • Dairy products. Prefer it in the form of low fat yogurt and cheese. They contribute to bone health, but can also be an important source of saturated fat.
  • Olive oil is located at the centre of the pyramid; should be the principal source of dietary lipids because of its high nutritional quality. Its unique composition gives it a high resistance to cooking temperatures and should be used for cooking as well as dressings (one tablespoon per person).
  • Spices,herbs, garlic and onions are a good way to introduce a variety of flavours and palatability to dishes and contribute to the reduction of salt addition. Olives, nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibre. A reasonable consumption of olives, nuts and seeds (such as a handful) make for a healthy snack choice.
  • Respecting religious and social beliefs, a moderate consumption of wine and other fermented beverages (1 glass per day for women and 2 glasses per day for men, as a generic reference) during meals is recommended.


  • A variety of plant and animal origin proteins should be consumed. Mediterranean traditional dishes do not usually have animal origin protein foods as the main ingredient but as a tasty source.
  • Fish (two or more servings), red meat (two servings) and eggs (two to four servings) are good sources of animal protein. Fish and shellfish are also good sources of healthy fats.
  • Consumption of red meat (less than two servings, preferably lean cuts) and processed meats (less than one serving) should be in smaller quantity and frequency.
  • The combination of legumes (more than two servings) and cereals are a healthy protein and lipid source. Potatoes are also included in this group, as they are a part of many traditional recipes with meat and fish (more or less than three servings per week, preferably fresh potatoes).


In the vertex of the Mediterranean Diet pyramidt are represented the sugary and unhealthy fat rich foods (sweets). Sugar, candies, pastries and beverages such as sweetened fruit juices and soft drinks should be consumed in small amounts.

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(The use and promotion of this pyramid is recommended without any restrictions)

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