THE BENEFITS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET

“The Mediterranean Diet is much more than eating food. It promotes social interaction, since the communal meal is the basis of social and convivial habits shared by a given community and has led to a remarkable amount of information, songs, maxims, tales and legends. The Diet is based on the respect for the territory and biodiversity, and guarantees the preservation and development of traditional activities and practices associated with fishing and agriculture in Mediterranean communities.”

These are the reasons why in November 2010 in Nairobi, the Mediterranean Diet was awarded the inscription on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, since it helps people to remain healthy. The American Senate has called it “the best diet ever”.
This is a nutritional model consisting of products from the Mediterranean area, such as pasta, bread, olive oil, fruit and vegetables, oily fish, lean meat, eggs, cheese, legumes, cereals and red wine. For some years now, we have been trying to spread the dietary habits typical of the Mediterranean diet by introducing products such as cereals, vegetables, fruit, fish and olive oil into the U.S. population’s nutrition as an alternative to a diet rich in fat, proteins and sugars.
But when was the Mediterranean diet born? Until the last century, every population based its diet predominantly on products that ? according to the climatic and territorial characteristics of the area ? could be produced locally. Economic and scientific developments led to a series of studies and researches that analyzed and classified different eating habits with the purpose of defining a universally valid food model that would create wellness.
The father of research on the Mediterranean Diet was Lorenzo Piroddi (1911-1999), a Ligurian scholar active in the first half of the twentieth century, who studied the connection between eating habits and metabolic diseases. To treat his patients, Piroddi developed a first version of the Mediterranean Diet, limiting the consumption of animal fats in favor of vegetable fats. Subsequently, the American nutritionist Keys launched a worldwide study project and realized that the populations using olive oil as a dressing had a lower incidence of heart attacks or heart diseases than populations using other condiments such as butter. He therefore suggested that the Mediterranean diet was the model to be followed and nowadays this model is popular all over the world.
The daily calorie requirement should be made up of 50 to 60% carbohydrates, a maximum of 30% fats and about 15% proteins to have a balanced diet.
The Mediterranean diet seems very suitable for seniors, inasmuch as studies have proven that it increases life expectancy and is the best defense against numerous diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes. cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke and Alzheimer’s. In some cases, it also has a detoxifying and anticancer effect.
Moreover, it has proven to be an excellent tool for combating childhood obesity, a widespread problem nowadays.
Following a Mediterranean diet is also recommended for those who do sports and women during pregnancy and lactation.
Due to its completeness and variety, we can say that the Mediterranean Diet is more than just a diet. It is a genuinely healthy life-style. It’s plain good for you, it’s tasty and maintains wellness. After all, what is better than a good pasta dish accompanied by a glass of red wine?

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