Is the Mediterranean Diet Good for Your Gut?

We know that our dietary habits have a strong effect on our gut microbiome, general health and metabolism.1

The Mediterranean diet is commonly thought of as one of the world's healthiest diets, high in fibre and prebiotics with excellent anti-inflammatory properties.

Consuming a healthy, whole foods-based, minimally processed diet can help to support several important gut microbial functions that are crucial for maintaining our health and well-being.

In this article, we will explore the Mediterranean diet, its health benefits, and how it affects our gut microbiome.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a diet based on the eating habits of people living in Spain, Greece and Italy, who historically had lower rates of cardiovascular disease when compared with the UK and USA. This prompted research into different continental diets and how they can affect our health.

The Mediterranean diet consists of mainly vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, oily fish, seafood and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. The diet is typically lower in red and processed meat, refined sugars, processed foods and dairy. Salt is replaced with herbs and spices. Alcohol is encouraged in moderation, particularly red wine, which is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants.2

The Mediterranean diet focuses on overall eating patterns rather than strict formulas or calculations and is flexible based on the eating habits of different Mediterranean continents.

The Mediterranean diet also encourages a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise, eating locally sourced foods, home-cooked meals, avoiding tobacco usage, and eating out.

Is the Mediterranean Diet Good for Gut Health?

The Mediterranean diet is full of high-fibre, plant-based foods and omega-3 fatty acids. These are associated with a high level of good bacteria in the gut that have anti-inflammatory properties.

Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation in the gut lining, which prevents disorders such as dysbiosis or leaky gut syndrome.

When compared to the Western diet, which consists of a high intake of saturated fats, sugar, and ‘processed’ or pre-packaged foods, the Mediterranean diet is full of prebiotics and highly nutritious foods that will support your gut bacteria and immunity.

However, this diet also contains hard-to-digest fibres which can produce fermenting, bloating and gas in some people. People with certain diseases such as Crohn's, IBS, or colitis may need a low-fibre diet and may not tolerate certain foods in the Mediterranean diet.

So, should you follow the Mediterranean diet?

Should You Follow the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is widely recognised as an excellent diet for all aspects of health and well-being.

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating pattern for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, increasing lifespan, and healthy ageing and may help to promote weight loss.

Furthermore, evidence has shown that every additional 7g of fibre in the daily diet reduces the risk of chronic disease. Cardiologists often recommend the Mediterranean diet because extensive research supports its cardiovascular and heart benefits3

However, as with all dietary changes, there are potential drawbacks.

We recommend trying it for a short period of time to see how it works for you. It may not be appropriate if you have food intolerances or certain bowel diseases. You may gain weight from eating more unsaturated fats in olive oil, nuts, and oily fish.

This diet may also be lower in levels of iron due to its avoidance of red meat. If you choose to follow the Mediterranean diet, consume plenty of iron or vitamin C, which improves iron absorption.

You may also consume less calcium from eating fewer dairy products. Wine is also recommended but some individuals should not drink alcohol, such as pregnant women or those with a poor relationship with alcohol.


In conclusion, the Mediterranean diet is a highly nutritious diet that has numerous health benefits, and not just for our gut bacteria. It has been shown to lower our risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, all-cause mortality, and mental health disorders, and is one of the healthiest diets in the world.

We highly recommend this diet as a means to improve your bacterial diversity and the general health of your gut microbiome. As with any dietary change, it's best to consult your GP or a registered dietitian if you have any concerns or questions about this diet.


Will the Mediterranean diet heal my gut?

No, not necessarily, but it may help to manage intestinal disease and also has excellent anti-inflammatory effects, as well as a magnitude of health benefits.

Can the Mediterranean diet help leaky gut?

It can do. The Mediterranean diet may boost your good bacteria which may help to heal leaky gut. It is also typically high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to repair the gut lining associated with a leaky gut.

Is the Mediterranean diet good for IBS?

It depends on the individual. The Mediterranean diet includes foods which are typically great for IBS, such as healthy fats, and also minimises processed foods which can reduce IBS symptoms. Other diets may be more effective for treating IBS, such as the low FODMAP diet.

Is the Mediterranean diet good for colon health?

Yes. It contains lots of prebiotics which feed our good gut bacteria in our colon. When fed properly, our gut bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which strengthen the gut barrier lining.


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