The Mediterranean Diet is the combination of all the food habits in use among the populations overlooking the Mediterranean, characterized by the presence and cultivation of olive trees. Olive oil is actually the only type of fat consumed in this diet. This food model, which is even under UNESCO’s protection as world intangible cultural heritage, has proved unique in assuring the permanence of a good health condition along the years, as the results of a recent research published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also demonstrate. By gathering information on the food habits of over 120,000 men and women from 1986 to today, Dr Piet A. van den Brandt could connect the Mediterranean Diet with a decrease in the mortality rate of as much as 15 years for women and 8 years for men!

And that’s not all. This diet is a low-calorie food regimen meant to make you loose weight, but also and most importantly a lifestyle where typical recipes, old flavours and specialties from the South of Italy are recovered and where “interaction with the social environment, respect for the territory, biodiversity, conservation and further enhancement of traditions are promoted”, as spoken by Dr. Grassi, a nutritionist cooperating with Masseria San Domenico as well as Secretary to the Foundation for Mediterranean Diet NPO.

The Mediterranean diet goes beyond the counting of calories and it overthrows the concept of diet as privation and sacrifice, promoting instead the physical and psychological wellbeing of the person. It is a food regimen poor in refined foods and rich in simple ingredients, arriving on the table unrefined and as found in nature: tomatoes, olive oil, legumes, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Simple and authentic ingredients, especially rich in micronutrients with protective effect, such as vitamins, fibres and essential minerals, which strengthen the immune system, shield from many diseases and delay the ageing process. Carbohydrates are the key element of this dietary pattern, but they are selected based on their glycaemic index among those having the lowest insulin response (i.e. they don’t increase the sugar level in the blood delaying hunger sensation), such as wholemeal pasta and rice, oatmeal, rye bread, etc.

“With the Mediterranean diet” says Dr. Grassi “you don’t loose a lot of weight at the beginning, as it is often the case with high-protein diets, but this is an advantage as it allows you to eliminate fat instead of water” and hence to maintain the acquired ideal weight for longer.

Foto di Walter Leonardi tratte dal libro “Olio d’oliva ragione e sentimento”, Congedo Editore.

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