Mediterranean diet


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Mediterranean diet

General term for any regimen based on traditional dietary practices of certain Mediterranean cultures (for example, those of Greece, Italy, and southern France), characterized by emphasis on natural foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, nuts, and wine as well as avoidance of saturated fats from meat and dairy products.

Because residents of most Mediterranean countries enjoy greater longevity and have a lower incidence of coronary artery disease than people living in the U.S., the Mediterranean diet has been proposed as one means of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Essential components of the Mediterranean diet are fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and berries; nuts and whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta; fresh fish; olive oil; and wine in moderation (150 mL/day for women, 300 mL/day for men). Diets high in omega-3 oils (from vegetables, nuts, and fish, particularly fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, bluefish, and swordfish) and monounsaturated fats (from olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and nuts) have been shown to lower plasma triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and to reduce cardiovascular and all-cause mortality both in healthy adults and in survivors of myocardial infarction. The Mediterranean diet is high in flavonoids (from peppers, tomatoes, onions, berries, tea, and red wine), which exert an antioxidant effect on LDL cholesterol and are also believed, on the basis of limited studies, to reduce cardiovascular mortality. The Mediterranean diet is low in saturated (animal) fats, such as occur in red meat, lard, milk, butter, and cheese, and it excludes trans-fatty acids (produced by the hydrogenation of vegetable oils in the manufacture of margarine, shortening, and substitutes for animal fats used in cooking and frying). Both saturated fats and trans-fatty acids raise plasma levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. The observation that Italians have higher cholesterol levels than Americans but a lower risk of cardiovascular death suggests that improved cardiovascular health and survival on the Mediterranean diet does not depend solely on changes in lipid levels. Studies have shown a beneficial effect of olive oil on blood pressure in patients under treatment for hypertension. Some apparent benefits of the Mediterranean diet may be due to lifestyle differences between Mediterranean cultures and that of the U.S. Valuable features of the Mediterranean diet are that it requires no drastic changes in calorie allowances, is found palatable by most people, and is not more expensive than regular diets. Potential benefits of the Mediterranean diet must be balanced against possible adverse effects. High consumption of fat from any source can lead to obesity unless offset by regular vigorous exercise. Consumption of alcohol is a risk factor for breast and other cancers and in those susceptible for alcoholism.

A diet that differs somewhat by country, but which is generally characterised by increased consumption of olive oil, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, fish, and decreased red meat and pork consumption

Mediterranean diet

Nutrition A diet that differs by country, characterized by ↑ consumption of olive oil, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, ↓ red meat. See Diet, Mediterranean diet pyramid. Cf Affluent diet.

Med·i·ter·ra·ne·an di·et

(med'i-tĕr-ā'nē-ăn dī'ĕt)
A diet centered on grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood, and olive oil with small amounts of meat and poultry.

Mediterranean diet

A diet featuring a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, cereals and olive oil; a moderately high intake of fish; a low to moderate intake of cheese and yoghurt; a low intake of other dairy products, saturated fats, meat and poultry; and a moderate and regular intake of wine taken with meals. Research has shown that close adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet is associated with a significant increase in longevity. The diet was found to reduce deaths both from coronary heart disease and from cancer.
References in periodicals archive ?
The research included 107 healthy but overweight participants, between 18 and 75 years of age, who were randomly assigned to follow for three months either a low-calorie vegetarian diet, which included dairy and eggs, or a low-calorie Mediterranean diet for three months.
Although the study results only apply to women undergoing IVF, it is possible that future research may connect a Mediterranean diet and conception success in women who are getting pregnant naturally.
The investigators noted that the Mediterranean diet may help older individuals maintain muscle strength, activity, weight, and energy levels.
Physical activity for at least 30 min daily and water as the main drink are the basis of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.
The good news is that following a lifesaving Mediterranean diet does not require deprivation of delicious foods, and the healthy polyphenols can be obtained in dietary supplements.
The traditional Mediterranean diet is an eating pattern characteristic of the Mediterranean basin, he explained.
BENEFITS OF A MEDITERRANEAN DIET | A Mediterranean diet can cut the long-term risk of heart disease by half, research shows.
A Mediterranean diet includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil and whole grains, while being low in red and processed meat, and with alcohol kept to a minimum.
Supplementing the plant-based Mediterranean diet with antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts was associated with improved cognitive function in a study of older adults in Spain but the authors warned more investigation is needed, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.
Using data from the PREDIMED study, which was a large, parallel-group, multicentre, randomised, controlled trial investigating the effect of the Mediterranean diet on primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, study authors evaluated the effect of this diet on the incidence and reversion of metabolic syndrome.
Section three discusses the health research on the Mediterranean diet as it affects metabolism, body weight, glucose control, cardiovascular function, cancer risk, the brain, and the immune system, as well as its impact on specific life stages, risk of delivering heavy metals and mycotoxins, and likelihood of effectiveness as an intervention.
Adherence to the Traditional Healthy Mediterranean Diet Pyramid (THMDP) [1] reduces the risk of many noncommunicable diseases [2, 3].

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