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The Mediterranean Diet: Evidence of its Health Benefits and Implications for Public Health

The Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) is not only a dietary pattern but also a way of life, rooted in the natural resources of the Mediterranean basin and the traditional eating habits of its people. Over the years, numerous scientific studies have shed light on the health benefits of the MedDiet, particularly its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The current pandemic of obesity represents a major global public health problem, mainly due to its association with chronic non-communicable disabling conditions and with increased mortality. Population aging increases the chances of non-communicable chronic diseases allowing a longer exposure to risk factors for these disabling conditions.

Recent findings have shown that strict adherence to the MedDiet, as well as the consumption of specific components such as olive oil and its polyphenols, can have a positive impact on various pathological conditions. In particular, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, and cancer have been identified as some of the main health issues that can be addressed and even prevented by following the MedDiet.

One interesting aspect that has emerged from research is the synergistic effect of the MedDiet and physical exercise, especially in cancer survivor patients. This suggests that the MedDiet is not just a dietary pattern but a holistic approach to health that includes healthy behaviors such as regular exercise.

Societal relevance Public health

The Mediterranean diet’s high lipid content has been a concern for public health. However, research suggests that it may help combat obesity by promoting low glycemic index foods and reducing the risk of weight gain. Maintaining a Traditional Mediterranean Diet could also help in maintaining a healthy weight after losing weight.

Despite the promising evidence supporting the health benefits of the MedDiet, there is still a need for more long-term studies to further explore its implications for chronic diseases. Furthermore, the discrepancy between the number of completed clinical trials and the limited publication of their results is a challenge that needs to be addressed in order to maximize the potential of the MedDiet in improving public health.

In conclusion, the evidence regarding the Mediterranean Diet is clear: it is a beneficial dietary pattern with the potential to positively impact various chronic diseases. By promoting the MedDiet and incorporating healthy behaviors such as physical exercise, we can not only improve individual health outcomes but also contribute to a healthier population and environment. The MedDiet is a model worth adopting and exporting to other populations and countries for the betterment of global public health.

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