25 Jun Forty years of the Mediterranean diet
This type of food on the Iberian Peninsula has been practiced for many centuries, but the concept of the Mediterranean diet was officially recognized only in 1980. On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary, experts reveal the health benefits that allowed this diet to survive and look into the future.
In 1958, a physiologist at the University of Minnesota School of public health observed that cases of coronary heart disease are more common in middle-aged Americans than in their European peers living in Mediterranean countries. So for the first time, Ancel Keys postulated that there is a correlation between the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in people and their eating habits and lifestyle.
This observation led him to start his basic research with participants from seven countries – the United States, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Japan, and Finland – to test the hypothesis. It revealed a large discrepancy in the rates of morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular diseases among the surveyed population groups: low rates of heart disease can occur with both low and high fat consumption, depending on its nature and dietary habits of participants.
This discovery led to the formal definition of the Mediterranean diet in 1980 after the first results of the study were published by Harvard University.
Why the Mediterranean diet is a step into the future:
- it has many variations, which makes it adaptable in different cultures;
- a healthy diet of the Mediterranean type will not protect against coronavirus, but it can alleviate the consequences and course of the disease;
- improves the protective properties of the body, regardless of the presence of physical activity and sports;
- slows down aging;
- supports the immune system at any age, especially in the elderly;
- another reason why the Mediterranean diet is able to survive and remain popular is due to its cultural significance. This is not just a fashion, but a healthy habit that has been proven for generations.