By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Mediterranean Diet is popular and for good reason.

In this diet, plant-based foods play a major role. Vegetables, nuts, and potatoes are important as well as fish and poultry. Of primary importance is the amount of red meat. There is some fat, primarily found in olive oil.

Most of the publicity surrounding the diet is based on the fact that moderate amounts of red wine are encouraged.

Several studies have found that the Mediterranean diet helps increase the amount of HDL, or good cholesterol, as well as lowering the LDL, or bad cholesterol.

There is no doubt the Mediterranean diet has some key advantages. There are many healthy choices out there, but what we should try to do is eat a balanced diet and try to reduce processed foods. They’re the foods high in saturated fat.

The Mediterranean diet is not the only option but it is a great one.