The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduction in the incidence of many diseases, but may not be suitable for everyone.
The Mediterranean diet represents the diet commonly consumed in regions that border the Mediterranean Sea. It consists of a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and moderate intake of red wine with meals. Epidemiological studies show that the Mediterranean diet is a model of healthy eating that contributes to better health and overall quality of life, and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
The Mediterranean diet is consumed in regions that border the Mediterranean Sea. Epidemiological studies show that it contributes to better health and overall quality of life. It is also an established model of eating for primary and secondary prevention of various chronic diseases. The Mediterranean diet consists of a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and moderate intake of red wine with meals (1). Olive oil, a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), is the major source of dietary fat and MUFAs comprise 15% to 20% (2). A hallmark of the Mediterranean diet is the low consumption of meat and dairy products (3).
Recent epidemiological analyses suggest that over 90% of type 2 diabetes, 80% of coronary heart disease, and 70% of stroke can be avoided by adopting healthful food choices that model the traditional Mediterranean diet (4). Large prospective studies found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet resulted in a significant reduction of gastric adenocarcinoma incidence (6) and overall reduction in cancer risk (7). A randomized controlled trial demonstrated that a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events (10). Conclusions of a meta-analyses also indicate associations between greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet and a significant reduction in risk of metabolic syndrome (8), cardiovascular factors (9), overall mortality, cancer incidence and mortality, and incidence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (1).