The Mediterranean diet is a nutritional model inspired by the food models widespread in some countries of the Mediterranean basin, inspired by the eating habits of Spain, Italy and Greece in the 1960s. The diet was recognized by UNESCO as a protected asset and included in the list of oral and intangible heritages of humanity in 2010.
The Mediterranean Diet in Pediatric Gastrointestinal Disorders, study published on the Nutrients, explained: "The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest dietary patterns worldwide, thanks to a combination of foods rich mainly in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Many studies have demonstrated a strong relationship between the Mediterranean diet and some chronic gastrointestinal diseases. The aim of this narrative review was to analyze the role of the Mediterranean diet in several gastrointestinal diseases, so as to give a useful overview on its effectiveness in the prevention and management of these disorders." The diet is based on foods whose consumption is habitual in countries of the Mediterranean basin, in a proportion that favors cereals, fruit, vegetables, seeds, olive oil, compared to a more rare use of red meat and animal fats, while it moderate consumption of fish, white meat, legumes, eggs, dairy products, red wine and sweets.
Some medical dieticians had already advanced some hypotheses on the effects of a diet with limited consumption of foods of animal origin such as dairy products, meat, eggs. The concept of the Mediterranean diet was introduced and initially studied by the American physiologist Ancel Keys.
The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality in observational studies. The Mediterranean diet can help with weight loss in obese people. The characteristics of the Mediterranean diet are: abundant foods of vegetable origin, fresh, naturally, in season, of local origin; fresh fruit as a daily dessert, desserts containing refined sugars or honey a few times a week; olive oil as the main source of fat; dairy products consumed daily in modest-moderate quantities; fish and poultry consumed in fairly low quantities; zero to four eggs a week; red meats in minimal quantities and wine consumed in small-moderate quantities, generally during the meal.
This diet is low in saturated fat, and has a total fat content of less than 25% to less than 35% depending on the area. It was also originally associated with regular physical activity, for example in the fields or at home.