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 ?
is the first company to offer ready-to-eat nutrition bars inspired by the Mediterranean Diet.
Of the participants, 155 individuals were assigned to supplement a Mediterranean diet with one liter of extra virgin olive oil per week; 147 were assigned to supplement a Mediterranean diet with 30 grams per day of a mix of walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds; and 145 individuals were assigned to follow a low-fat control diet.
Mediterranean diets and metabolic syndrome status in the PREDIMED randomised trial.
They rated each person's diet by its resemblance to the Mediterranean diet by way of a validated, 10-point scale first reported in 2003 (N.
Question of which Mediterranean diet is most |popular .
Since the Mediterranean diet is associated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, the study looked at whether adherence to this diet lengthened telomeres in people--in this case, U.
The greatest effect of yogurt on obesity was found in people who ate full fat yogurt and a rich Mediterranean diet who were 36 per cent less likely to be obese than those who did not eat yogurt often and did not follow the Mediterranean diet.
Thus, the study concludes that the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet, combining unsaturated fats and vegetables abundant in nitrite and nitrate, comes at least in part from the nitro fatty acids generated which inhibit soluble Epoxide Hydrolase to lower blood pressure.
The investigation evaluated the effects of adherence to a Mediterranean diet or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet among 93,122 participants who enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative study between 1993 and 1998.
Sent just before December's G8 summit on dementia, the letter pointed out that a Mediterranean diet is "possibly the best strategy currently available for tackling dementia", and stressed that a large body of evidence demonstrates its effectiveness in preventing other chronic diseases too.
According to a press release issued by the Cyprus National Committee of UNESCO, the countries that participated in the preparation of the application used a flagship community to describe their Mediterranean diet.
About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found," reported The New York Times in February.
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