Maestri Italiani Article

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet

The term diet is however improper, because, more than a real diet program, it is a food style made of rules
and habits inspired by the Mediterranean tradition.
In the 50s of the last century, Ancel Keys, an American nutritionist, realized that the populations of the
Mediterranean were less susceptible to some pathologies than the Americans.
From the above the hypothesis that the Mediterranean diet was able to increase the longevity of those who
followed it.
The same nutritionist continued for years such research, which culminated in writing the book “How to eat
well and stay well the Mediterranean way”. In this book were reported the results of the famous "Seven
Countries Study ", which for twenty years he monitored the diet and health conditions of 12,000 people aged
from 40 to 60, residing in several countries such as Japan, USA, Holland, Yugoslavia, Finland and Italy. The
initial hypothesis of Keys was then confirmed and the Mediterranean diet was proposed to the whole world
as the ideal diet to reduce the incidence of so-called "diseases of well-being". Since the '70s it was therefore
sought to spread the typical dietary habits of the Mediterranean diet in the United States, vegetables, fruit,
fish and olive oil were proposed as an alternative to a diet too rich in fats, proteins and sugars.
To summarize all the principles of the Mediterranean diet created in the 1990s, a simple food pyramid reporting the  and quantity distribution of food throughout the day.
In particular, at its base there were foods to be consumed several times a day while at the top they were given the oods to be restricted.
The Mediterranean is a diet that should be based on the consumption of typical products of the neighboring
areas of the Mediterranean Sea basin; the quality of the foods contained in the Mediterranean diet does not
make you fat or lose weight; however, from the nutritional point of view it is certainly a healthy and
sufficiently balanced diet. It is no coincidence that in 2010 the Mediterranean diet was proclaimed by
UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
The Mediterranean diet should not make you fat, as it is based on the consumption of extremely simple and
not very elaborate products. The foods that characterize the Mediterranean diet are:

Frequent

  • Raw cereals and derivatives
  • Legumes
  • Seasonal vegetables
  • Seasonal fruit
  • Fishery products, especially fish
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine, Sea salt

Less Frequent

  • Meats
  • Eggs
  • Milk and derivatives

Almost Absent

  • Seasoning saturated fats
  • Highly sugary foods
  • Fatty meat
The strength of the Mediterranean diet is the high nutritional content of molecules useful for the proper
functioning of the organism; these include: dietary fiber, lecithin, vitamins (all), mineral salts (all, even
iodine), antioxidants (polyphenols, lycopene, anthocyanins, etc.), polyunsaturated and monounsaturated
fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9) etc. balanced.
The Mediterranean Diet is a normocaloric diet that must comply with a lifestyle that is at least active. This
allows better cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness, greater energy expenditure and therefore larger
portions of food and is ideal for preventing and combating: arteriosclerosis, heart disease, hypertension,
diabetes, tumors (digestive tract species, see: Diet and cancer) and intestinal motility disorders (i.e. irritable
bowel).