The growing popularity of the mediterranean diet

An international team of researchers delves into the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, redeveloping foods that have so far been "denigrated"

Over the past few decades, the Mediterranean diet has attracted enormous scientific, social, and commercial attention due to its proven health benefits and undeniable taste, which have facilitated its widespread popularity globally.

What exactly defines the mediterranean diet?

Key elements of this dietary regime include an abundance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish, with limited meat consumption, and a strong emphasis on the seasonality of plant products. Besides these well-known characteristics, there are also several aspects and categories of food generally overlooked when discussing this dietary model: eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, spices, and even red wine are “vital” components of the Mediterranean diet.

The Study

A recent international study conducted by a group of universities from Mediterranean countries—including the University of Catania, the University of Parma, Polytechnic University of Marche, IRCCS Neuromed in Pozzilli, and Universidad Europea del Atlántico in Spain—highlights numerous studies that have demonstrated the protective effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet against disorders such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.

However, a wide variety of foods remained unexplored in studies on adherence to this diet: until now, researchers have focused primarily on the consumption of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, and cereals. Sufficient scientific dignity has not been given to the consumption of whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, eggs and dairy, and especially red wine—not to mention the undeniable weight of cooking methods, production, processing, and preservation of food.

The new research has finally given prominence to these previously “denigrated” foods of the Mediterranean diet, considered lacking in benefits for the body.


Often associated with cholesterol and the onset of cardiovascular diseases, eggs are an important pillar of the Mediterranean diet and deserve reconsideration. They are an economical and nutrient-rich source, providing high-quality proteins, vitamins, and essential minerals; moreover, egg proteins are easily assimilable and provide a complete range of essential amino acids.


Cheeses and dairy products have a long tradition in the Mediterranean diet, but their consumption has been limited due to concerns about saturated fatty acids and cholesterol. However, the new study suggests that the saturated fatty acids found in dairy have a limited impact on circulating LDL cholesterol levels.

Nuts and seeds

Dried fruits, such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, along with flax, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds, have been a fundamental part of the Mediterranean diet for centuries. The benefits of regular consumption of these two food categories are undeniable and confirmed by numerous studies.

Red wine

Wine consumption has been a constant through the centuries to the modern era. Contrary to the common view that the Mediterranean diet is characterized by a moderate consumption of red wine, white wine has always been consumed in the Mediterranean area. Moderate wine consumption in the context of the Mediterranean diet has been deemed a significant contribution to its overall beneficial effect in large cohorts of people living in the Mediterranean basin.

What really characterizes alcohol consumption in the context of the Mediterranean diet is the pattern of consumption: alcoholic beverages are generally consumed in moderation and during meals.

So far, studies on the effects of alcohol consumption on human health have mainly used a quantitative approach, without distinguishing the occasion (during meals / away from meals) and the pattern (frequent low doses / binge drinking).

Future studies are needed to better explore the occasions and patterns of alcohol consumption in order to provide a solid scientific basis for recommending total abstinence or, conversely, demonstrating certain potential benefits at moderate doses possibly consumed during meals.

Sourcee: Journal of Translational Medicine

The article draws upon studies published and recommendations from international institutions and/or experts. We do not make claims in the medical-scientific field and report the facts as they are. Sources are indicated at the end of each article.
Condividi su Whatsapp Condividi su Linkedin