There's More to Drink on the Mediterranean Diet Than Red Wine (but You Can Have That, Too)

If you follow health news, you probably have a sense of what you can eat on the Mediterranean diet. The year's best diet is known for the extensive list of foods you're encouraged to eat, including fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and seafood. In fact, there are very few foods you need to limit. So what about drinks?

"There are actually quite a few beverages that you can enjoy on the Mediterranean diet," Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, told POPSUGAR. Like any diet, water should be your go-to, but you can also have most drinks that are not "pumped full of sugar," she said. "This rules out soda, as well as most bottled coffees, teas, and juices, plus certain coffee shop favorites." While a frap may be out of the question, you can still have your morning cold brew or nighttime chamomile tea — just add a dash of cinnamon or a squeeze of lemon in lieu of sugary sweeteners.

Worried you'll have to quit drinking smoothies? "It depends on what you're putting in your smoothie and how that fits into the context of your day," Jessica said. If you're drinking a smoothie in place of breakfast or lunch, it's important to add fat (nuts or avocado) and protein (a dollop of Greek yogurt). "If your smoothie is mostly fruit, it's going to spike your blood sugar, and you'll be hungry again long before your next meal," she explained.

Unlike more restrictive diets, the Mediterranean diet also allows you to enjoy alcohol in moderation. (Generally, that's considered up to two drinks per day for men and one per day for women.) "While red wine is most commonly associated with the Mediterranean diet, all types of alcohol can be beneficial for heart health," Jessica said. If you don't currently imbibe on the regular, there's no need to pick up the habit — the fresh, healthy foods of the Mediterranean diet do much more than alcohol to protect your heart — but you can definitely savor that glass of wine with dinner guilt-free.

In fact, "the Mediterranean diet has a very unique social aspect to it," Jessica said. "It actually encourages turning mealtime into quality time with those closest to you." We'll cheers to that.