In recent years, a new variation of the traditional Mediterranean diet has gained popularity for its health and environmental benefits. Known as the Green Mediterranean Diet, this eating plan focuses on incorporating more plant-based foods while still drawing inspiration from the traditional Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil. This article aims to explore What the Green Mediterranean Diet is, the foods to eat and avoid, its potential benefits, risks, and whether or not you should consider trying it.

What Is the Green Mediterranean Diet?

The Green Mediterranean Diet is a plant-based variation of the traditional Mediterranean diet, incorporating more greens, pulses, and plant-based proteins while reducing the consumption of animal products. It emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods that are beneficial for both personal health and the environment. By shifting towards plant-based foods, the diet aims to lower the carbon footprint associated with food production and consumption.
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What Is the Green Mediterranean Diet?


Foods To Eat and Foods to Avoid

The Green Mediterranean Diet focuses on a variety of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and olive oil. It encourages moderate consumption of fish and poultry while limiting red meat and processed foods.

Foods to eat:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains like quinoa, bulgur, and farro
  • Olive oil as the primary source of fat
  • Moderate amounts of fish and poultry

Foods To Eat

Foods to avoid or limit:

  • Red meat and processed meats
  • Sugary drinks and desserts
  • Refined grains like white bread and pasta

Foods to avoid or limit


By focusing on plant-based foods, the Green Mediterranean Diet offers a wide range of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that support overall health and well-being.

Potential Benefits of a Green Mediterranean Diet

  1. Can Contribute to Heart Health: The Green Mediterranean Diet has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and lower levels of LDL cholesterol, commonly known as “bad” cholesterol. The high content of monounsaturated fats from olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids from fish contributes to heart health.
  2. Helps With Visceral Fat Loss: Visceral fat, the type of fat stored around the abdominal organs, is linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases. By emphasizing plant-based foods and reducing the intake of high-fat animal products, the Green Mediterranean Diet can help reduce visceral fat levels.
  3. Reduces Personal Contribution to Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Plant-based diets have a lower environmental impact compared to diets rich in animal products. By adopting the Green Mediterranean Diet, individuals can reduce their carbon footprint and support sustainable food production practices.

Risks of the Green Mediterranean Diet and Other Concerns

While the Green Mediterranean Diet offers numerous health and environmental benefits, it is essential to consider some potential risks and challenges associated with this eating plan. These may include:

  1. Nutrient Deficiencies: Cutting back on certain animal-based foods may lead to nutrient deficiencies if not properly balanced with plant-based alternatives. It’s crucial to ensure an adequate intake of essential nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.
  2. Cost: Plant-based diets can sometimes be more expensive, depending on the availability and cost of fresh produce and plant-based protein sources. Individuals considering the Green Mediterranean Diet should plan their meals wisely to make the most of their budget.
  3. Social and Cultural Considerations: Transitioning to a plant-based diet may pose challenges in social settings or for individuals with cultural dietary preferences that include significant amounts of animal products. It’s important to find a balance that suits individual needs and values.

Should You Try the Green Mediterranean Diet?

The decision to try the Green Mediterranean Diet should be based on individual health goals, preferences, and lifestyle factors. If you are looking to improve your overall health, reduce your environmental impact, and enjoy a variety of delicious plant-based foods, the Green Mediterranean Diet could be a suitable option. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian before making significant dietary changes, especially if you have specific health conditions or nutritional needs.


The Green Mediterranean Diet offers a plant-based approach to healthy eating that combines the nutritional benefits of the traditional Mediterranean diet with a focus on sustainability and environmental consciousness. By emphasizing the consumption of plant-based foods while reducing the intake of animal products, individuals can improve their health, support sustainable food systems, and contribute to a lower carbon footprint. While there are potential risks and challenges associated with this diet, careful planning and consideration of individual needs can help individuals reap the benefits of the Green Mediterranean Diet effectively.


The Green Mediterranean Diet presents a promising opportunity to prioritize health, environmental sustainability, and delicious plant-based cuisine. By incorporating diverse perspectives and considering the potential benefits and risks, individuals can make informed decisions about whether to adopt this eating plan into their lifestyle.


  1. World Health Organization, Healthy diet
  2. Mayo Clinic, Dietary fat: Know which to choose
  3. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Healthy Eating Plate