Current evidence suggests a beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet (MD) on human health. This has led to a rise in studies investigating the role of the MD in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention outside the region of its origin. We aimed to outline the evolving understanding of the MD and to provide an overview of adherence to MD in non-Mediterranean countries and the modulatory effects of MD on CVD biomarkers. Evidence suggest that MD may exert a protective effect on CVD via ameliorating blood lipid profile and blood pressure. A protective effect of MD was found with regard to left ventricular mass but data on carotid intima media thickness and pulse wave velocity are lacking. The paucity of data does not give a clear picture of the health effects of the MD in non-Mediterranean countries, thus larger and well-designed studies on MD outside the Mediterranean countries are warranted.