It is widely recognized that each country has its own cultural identity. There is no doubt that eating habits are a big part of a country’s culture. The term “Mediterranean diet” has been used by many scientists to describe the eating habits of the Mediterranean inhabitants, particularly the inhabitants of Crete and Southern Italy, in the early s. The Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organization WHO in , in conjunction with Greek scientists, schematically represented the Mediterranean Diet with the Nutritional Pyramid, making it a “standard” that should be followed for lifetime for the preservation and protection of public health. The basis of this pyramid includes foods that should be consumed and habits that should be followed on a daily basis. Going to the top of the pyramid there are foods, that are supposed to be consumed on a weekly or monthly basis Figure 1. Figure 1. Depiction of a nutritional pyramid according to the Mediterranean diet and Western-type diet. The Mediterranean diet focuses on cereals bread, oats, wholegrain cereals, groats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, whose consumption should be on a daily basis.
The abundant consumption of fruits and vegetables with low caloric value but rich in nutrients allows for a greater intake and ensures long-term adherence to this healthy dietary pattern and nutritional adequacy without vitamin supplements. With a low environmental impact, this dietary pattern contributes to food security and a healthy life for present and future generations. In the current context of assessing the health effects of overall food patterns instead of single nutrients or foods, the MedDiet has become a scientific topic of high interest due to evidence that has directly supported substantial health benefits, including some large trials with hard clinical endpoints [ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 ], but this high-quality evidence is not available for any other dietary pattern. The Seven Countries Study, led by Ansel Keys and his associates, began in the early s and lasted for several years. Mediterranean diet and life expectancy: Beyond olive oil, fruits, and vegetables. The Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways, a nonprofit food think tank, and other institutions offer practical resources to apply the traditional MedDiet in American settings: cookbooks, blogs, news articles, restaurants, and several hospitals and food chains are promoting this healthful dietary pattern and inspiring Mediterranean culinary practices in the American kitchen [ 55, 56 ]. Published online Nov 8. Assessments using this score have shown beneficial associations with health outcomes in large epidemiological studies [ 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 18, 44 ]. This article has been corrected. Replace beer or liquors with wine, preferably red wine, no more than 2 glasses 10 oz. The MedDiet has become an increasingly popular topic of interest when focusing on overall food patterns rather than single nutrient intake, not only in Mediterranean countries, but also globally. BMC Med.
This article includes a cumulative meta-analysis of prospective studies supporting a strong inverse association between closer adherence to the MedDiet and the incidence of hard clinical events of CVD. The MedDiet has become an increasingly popular topic of interest when focusing on overall food patterns rather than single nutrient intake, not only in Mediterranean countries, but also globally. The transferability of the traditional MedDiet to the non-Mediterranean populations is possible, but it requires a multitude of changes in dietary habits. New approaches for promoting healthy dietary behavior consistent with the MedDiet will offer healthful, sustainable, and practical strategies at all levels of public health. The following article presents practical resources and knowledge necessary for accomplishing these changes. The Mediterranean diet MedDiet is a scientific concept that reflects the traditional dietary pattern that prevailed in the olive tree-growing areas of the Mediterranean basin before the mids, that is, before globalization had its influence on lifestyle, including diet [ 1 ]. In the current context of assessing the health effects of overall food patterns instead of single nutrients or foods, the MedDiet has become a scientific topic of high interest due to evidence that has directly supported substantial health benefits, including some large trials with hard clinical endpoints [ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 ], but this high-quality evidence is not available for any other dietary pattern. The MedDiet is characterized by its relatively high total fat intake from olive oil that makes it palatable, but low in saturated fat and rich in nutrients and dietary fiber content. It is a diet that is rich in antioxidant compounds and bioactive elements with anti-inflammatory effects, and it has a low glycemic index. These health properties help to meet nutritional requirements [ 10 ], reach and maintain a healthy body weight [ 11, 12, 13 ], increase longevity [ 5, 9, 14 ], and reduce the risk for chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease CVD [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 ], type 2 diabetes [ 15 ], obesity [ 11, 12, 13 ], metabolic syndrome [ 16, 17 ], certain cancers [ 18, 19 ], and cognitive impairment [ 20, 21 ]. Several important meta-analyses have systematically assessed and reported important health benefits derived from a closer conformity with the MedDiet [ 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 ], but none of them have adopted a cumulative approach to assess the temporal sequence in the accrual of this evidence.