The Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

September 25, 2014

A nutritional model, based on olive oil, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and fish, rediscovered for its effectiveness in keeping the body distant from cardiovascular disease and progressive decline in brain power.

By Antonello Vilardi 

Spreading internationally and supported by reliable scientific studies, there is now a clear and distinct understanding that the "Mediterranean diet" is in a position to prevent the onset of dangerous diseases such as diabetes and obesity. 

Mortality from ischemic heart disease (or rather heart attack) is less common in Mediterranean countries than in those where the diet is rich in saturated fats (butter, lard, milk and dairy products, red meat). 

The Mediterranean diet consists of the consumption of bread, fruit, vegetables, herbs, cereals, fish, wine (albeit in moderation) and olive oil. 

Curiously it finds support in a paradox for the traditional nutritionist: despite the fact fat consumption as a whole remains fairly regular basis, the population that relies on this type of diet have lower rates of cardiovascular disease. 

The explanation lies in the fact that the recurrent use of olive oil in food preparation effectively counterbalances the animal fats.  

Olive oil lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood. 

Grains occupy an important place in the diet. Pasta, rice, corn, barley, and spelt are a source of complex carbohydrates, which should provide 55-60% of daily calories. 

Undoubted are the advantages of consuming lots of fruits and vegetables, which generate satiety compared to a reduced caloric power. These foods possess large quantities of water and the essential contribution of vitamin C. 

The diet has a higher consumption of fish, whose presence on the boards is favored by the rich marine environments typical of Mediterranean geography. The fish brings a good amount of protein, essential fatty acids and some minerals. 

The desserts are not the dominant aspect, in fact are only allowed once a week. 

The benefits of this type of power supply, as well as on the cardiovascular system, are reflected on the brain through the prevention of cognitive decline. Ultimately, everything seems to converge quickly to recognize the merit in having to play a key role in the longevity and quality of life. 

The nutritional model is inspired by the culinary traditions of four states in the basin of the Mediterranean Sea, three European and one North African: Spain, Italy, Greece and Morocco.