Mediterranean Diet and Health Promotion: evidence and current concerns
Medical Research Archives
The Mediterranean diet (MD) is a dietary pattern described by Ancel B. Keys in the 1950s as a typical dietary habit of some populations bordering the Mediterranean sea in the south of Europe characterized by frugal living style. Findings of the Seven Country Study showed that people faced in the Mediterranean area had a reduced incidence of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, cancer and age-related diseases. The mechanisms through which the MD exerts its health benefit and prevents the onset
... f several diseases are not completely clarified because of various and complex aspects. Several studies suggest that the claimed benefits of the MD dietary pattern is mainly linked to decreased inflammation and oxidative stress, strongly related to each other and involved in many chronic diseases. The high content of compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity present in most foods of the MD pattern has been considered effective for the improvement of many functions and parameters, therefore useful for the maintenance of the health status and the prevention of many chronic diseases. However, the extensive metabolism to which antioxidant compounds are subjected, once ingested with foods, reduces their antioxidant activity within the systemic circulation and tissues and their concentrations are very low in comparison with endogenous antioxidants. Foods produced for human nutrition have significant consequences for both the environment and the health of a specific population, and, in turn, the environment may address food choices and affect eating habit. The MD is a sustainable diet model that presents a very low environmental footprint, promotes the bio-diversity and protects human health and well-being. However, we must not ignore the planet changes and global environmental aspects that might convert the MD into a theoretical eating model far away from that described by Keys.