Published: 04/28/2006 - Updated: 08/14/2019
In a meeting in London, in January 2000, in which over fifty medical and nutrition experts from Europe and the United States spoke, it has concluded that the Mediterranean diet, traditional, has salutary effects on cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes mellitus .The term "Mediterranean Diet" covers food patterns typical of certain regions of the Mediterranean in the early'60s. Traditionally characterized by their abundance of fruit and vegetables, cereals, pasta, vegetables and nuts; olive oil as the main source of fat, consumption of fish, small or moderate amounts of poultry, meat and dairy products, eggs and wine. The Mediterranean diet is low in saturated fatty acids and has a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, mainly derived from olive oil.
The Mediterranean diet is a tradition of centuries that helps make an excellent state of health, a sense of pleasure and well-being and represents an essential part of the collective cultural heritage.
For Americans and Europeans from the North and East, and other people wishing to improve their diet, a Mediterranean dietary pattern is attractive for its famous palatability as well as its health benefits.
How elements of the Mediterranean diet contribute to improve health:
Cardiovascular disease: an improved lipid profile (decreased LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, increasing or maintaining levels of HDL-cholesterol), reduces oxidation of lipids, reduces the risk of atherothrombosis, and improves endothelial function and insulin resistance.
Diabetes: diets rich in complex carbohydrates (based on the consumption of cereals, vegetables and fruit) with olive oil improve glucose levels, insulin resistance and the lipid profile.
Obesity: the Mediterranean diet, though not a diet low in fat, contributes to the prevention and treatment of obesity because of its variety and palatability, provided that control the caloric intake. Obesity is primarily a disorder of energy balance. Regular physical activity helps to maintain your ideal weight.
Colorectal cancer: their incidence decreases with the consumption of olive oil and fats derived from fish (omega-3), antioxidants and phytosterols.
Breast cancer: their incidence decreases with the consumption of monounsaturated fat and olive oil.
Antioxidants: The Mediterranean diet contains an adequate amount of balanced antioxidants (vitamins E and C, various carotenoids and polyphenols, which are present in vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, legumes, olive oil and wine). Antioxidants can play an important role in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer and the aging-related phenomena.
Alcohol: Moderate alcohol consumption may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. The general recommendations for the population on the consumption of any alcoholic beverage, should always take into account the adverse effects on the health benefits of excessive or irresponsible consumption of it. Alcohol abuse increases the risk of many cancers, especially those affecting the respiratory and digestive tract, and many studies have demonstrated that also causes a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. Alcohol consumption is not recommended in individuals with a history of alcoholism, liver disorders, enrolled in hyperlipaemia with increase in triglycerides and other clinical processes. Neither should be recommended in those who have chosen not to consume.