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 ?
Further, the Mediterranean diet was also found to be protecting against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which might lead to a liver transplant.
Senior researcher Edward Weiss, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and dietetics at SLU, says the Mediterranean diet is well-established as having numerous health benefits.
They completed a detailed food frequency questionnaire, and the researchers calculated how closely each participant's diet adhered to the Mediterranean diet. Diet adherence scores ranged from 0 to 55, with higher scores indicating greater adherence.
Switching to a Mediterranean diet starts with rethinking your supermarket route, especially if you typically head for the packaged-foods aisles.
In follow-up scans, people in the Western diet group showed even greater beta-amyloid deposits and reductions in energy use than the Mediterranean diet group.
The researchers found that a primary end point (myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes) occurred in 288 participants: 3.8, 3.4, and 4.4 percent of those assigned to a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with nuts, and the control group, respectively.
The researchers found that the more closely the women were following the Mediterranean diet, the better their bone mineral density and the greater their muscle mass.
The Mediterranean diet also favors a moderately high fish intake and low consumption of saturated fat, dairy and red meat.
But after a patient with heart failure experiences a worsening of their condition that requires medical intervention, sticking with a Mediterranean diet may no longer be beneficial.
For some time now, we have been hearing about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Studies have found that it reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.
The concept of the Mediterranean diet is derived from the dietary habits of the population inhabiting the Mediterranean region from ancient times, characterized by the lowest incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Studies show that the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH diet) and The Mediterranean diet are beneficial for weight loss, glycaemic control in diabetics, primary prevention in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, a decrease in the mortality rate and slower cognitive decline in the elderly.1

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