The Mediterranean model of a healthy and sustainable diet, as already mentioned, encompasses many different aspects in addition to food: conviviality, sustainability, respect for the land and biodiversity, and tradition.
This dietary pattern, based on variety and seasonality, favours the prevalent consumption of plant-based food and it is characterized by a high intake of fruit and vegetables, cereals (especially wholegrain cereals), legumes, olive oil, and dried fruit; a moderate intake of fish, white meat, eggs, milk and dairy products; a low intake of red meat, processed meat, and sweets.
The health benefits of MD depend on the type of foods it is composed of, their frequency of consumption, and their methods of preparation and preservation. In particular, these favourable effects are due to:
- a high intake of fibre, vitamins, minerals and protective substances (such as polyphenols, carotenoids and flavonoids), contained mainly in fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals
- a prevalent intake of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (especially omega-3 fatty acids), contained in extra virgin olive oil, dried fruit, oil seeds, and fish
- a low intake of saturated fatty acids, dietary cholesterol and salt, linked to limited consumption of animal-based food
- a limited and insignificant intake of trans fatty acids, contained mainly in ultra-processed foods
- the use of spices and herbs to flavour food, which helps to further reduce salt intake
- a frequent consumption of fermented foods (bread, yoghurt, fermented milk) and a moderated consumption of wine
- an adequate consumption of water and frugal portions
- a constant and regular physical activity
1. Pezzana Andrea, Tolomeo Martina, Pistone Erika, Guidi Sabrina. (2021). PROGETTO CCM -AZIONE CENTRALE 2019 DEL MINISTERO DELLA SALUTE (Segretariato generale) MODELLI DI DIETE SANE E SOSTENIBILI A PARTIRE DALLE DIETE TRADIZIONALI
Vocabolario ARIANNALa dieta mediterranea