16th of November 2010, Nairobi, Kenya, after a long and delicate international debate, Unesco has finally inscribed and recognised the “Mediterranean Diet” within the representative list of the Humanity immaterial cultural heritage. After many years of negotiations led on by Mediterranean countries, in order to promote the importance of this diet pattern, Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco, Portugal, Cyprus and Croatia can finally consider themselves satisfied; all the world will knowand appreciate such aprecious heritage, a mixture of culture, history, tradition, recipes, passion and love: we could define it a life style, more than a simple food model.
Today there is much talk of Mediterranean diet, with plenty of articles and scientific researche on the subject, many ad hoc associations are created and producers compete to show how their products could be part of this diet.
But what exactly is the Mediterranean diet? How can it be possible to define such a vast concept in a diet that is to be followed? What makes it different from the othe rnutrition models and,above all,what are the key elements that “technically” act on our body bringing benefits and how they doit ?
The Mediterranean diet represents a group of skills, knowledge, techniques and traditions that range from the landscape to the table, including cultivation, harvesting, fishing, preservation, transformation, preparation and, above all, food consummation.
The father of this lifestyle was Ancel Keys, an American scientist that in 1945 discovered the “Perfect Diet” while spending his holidays in Pioppi di Pollica, in Salerno, and named it in this way.
What caught his attention was not only the longevity of local people, but also the lack of cardiovascular pathologies, differently from the population of his country.
But then, doctor Keys, found the arswer: it was the QUALITY of the consumed food.
Through the study of the eating styles of people around him, the Mediterranean Pyramid was then created.
This food scheme became the healthy nutritional target of the whole world because it represents the true antidote for cerebral, cardiovascular and tumoral pathologies
The word “Diet” refers to the Greek language, meaning “lifestyle”, in other words the techniques, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills and cultural areas with which the people of Mediterranean have created and recreated, during the centuries, a synthesis of the cultural background, social organization, mythical and religious universe around their eating habits.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the respect for the land and biodiversity, and guarantees the preservation and development of the traditional activities and professions related to fishing and agriculture in the communities of the area.
This “ideal” diet is made up of the 15% of proteins, 60% of carbs and 25% of fats.
It is necessary to learn to vary food and meals, which could be more or less tasty, and to respect the following nutritional statement: 5 portions a day of fruit and vegetables, a good portion of pasta, rice or pizza and more legumes, fish, white and red meat. At the end a good glass of wine!
Doc. Keys and his assistants, among which we can mention MarttiKarovonem, move to Pioppi, a little village of the province of Pollica, and there they carry on the famous Seven Countries Studies.
It was an epidemiologic study on the relations of lifestyle, diet, coronary disease and ictus among populations living in different areas of the world, which has focused the attention especially on the causes of coronary diseases and ictus, but has also highlighted which risk factors an individual can modify.
According to the different studies carried o the Mediterranean diet it is possible to state that it plays a fundamental role in the longevity and quality of life.
It has been proved that the daily consumption of bio food inherent to the diet might reduce the blood levels of homocysteine, cholesterol, microalbuminuria and increase B12 values.
The Journal of American College of Cardiology confirms that beyond preventing the onsetmetabolicsyndrome, the Mediterranean diet successfully controls abdominal obesity, “bad” HDL cholesterol and triglycerides blood level, blood pressure values, glucose metabolism and is also related to a minor risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some types of cancers.
It is also associated to a general minor mortality risk.
The study is a meta-analysis that has considered the results of 50 researches done on the diet, for an amount of half a million of individuals observed.
Who eats in the Mediterranean way is protected from many diseases, metabolic and tumural, and with an incipient world longevity that enables ageing in full health, and this will be possible thanks to this diet.
Mediterranean diet is suitable for everyone!