Health-Promoting Effects of Traditional Mediterranean Diets - A Review.
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Publish date: 2012-06-30
Pol. J. Food Nutr. Sci. 2012;62(2):71–76
Epidemiological studies have suggested that the adherence to Mediterranean diet (in Greek Μεσογειακή Διατροφή, Mesogiaki diatrofi) is correlated to a low risk of cardiovascular diseases. Mediterranean diet offers a nutritional model enriched by diverse cultures which, over centuries, has essentially maintained the same structure. In general, this diet is rich in plant foods (fruit, vegetables, whole grain cereals, legumes, nuts), with moderate amounts of seafood, extra virgin olive oil as main dressing and regular, moderate red wine consumption at meals. Furthermore, it has been assumed that some bioactive constituents of Mediterranean foods are, at least in part, responsible for the observed health-promoting effects ascribed to this dietary style. Among these, polyphenols have been extensively studied for their biological activities, though hundreds of different secondary metabolites are present in plant foods. Therefore, it is plausible that additive and/or synergistic effects of phytochemicals may maximize the health potential of the traditional Mediterranean diet.