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Healthy Traditional Mediterranean Diet: an Expression of Culture, History, and Lifestyle

Antonia Trichopoulou M.D, Pagona Lagiou M.D
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.1997.tb01578.x 383-389 First published online: 1 November 1997


The term Mediterranean diet refers to dietary patterns found in olive-growing areas of the Mediterranean region and described in the 1960s and beyond. There are several variants of the Mediterranean diet, but some common components can be identified: high monounsaturated/saturated fat ratio; ethanol consumption at moderate levels and mainly in the form of wine; high consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains; moderate consumption of milk and dairy products, mostly in the form of cheese; and low consumption of meat and meat products. Growing evidence demonstrates that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial to health; the evidence is stronger for coronary heart disease, but it also applies to some forms of cancer. Results from recent investigations provide a strong biomedical foundation for the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet.

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