To summarize, it was sensed and then demonstrated by a study conducted for 20 years in Finland, Japan, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States and Yugoslavia, that the diet of populations who live on the Mediterranean gives rise to one of the highest life expectancies in the world with drastic reductions in incidences of heart disease and a few types of cancers as well as many other diseases that are all related to diet.
A healthy diet foresees, above all, moderate food consumption, and secondly, careful attention to the chemical composition of food. The dietary model designated by Ancel Keys which later became known as the “Mediterranean diet”, bases its reasoning on a few nutrients and among which, as far as the type of lipid to consume, Extra Virgin olive oil has a fundamental role for its concentration of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Olive oil constitutes the very essence of healthy mediterranean diets. It is an integral part of the “Mediterranean diet” which is associated with sensible tasty portions and slower, more enjoyable eating. The olive oil in the Mediterranean diet can quickly satisfy hunger and lead to fewer total calories ingested at mealtime.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the few oils that can be eaten without chemical processing. Most doctors advocate lowering total fat and calories in your diet, and substituting butter, margarine and tropical oils with healthy fats like olive oil.
Clinical, epidemiological and biochemical studies have provided very sound biological bases regarding the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. The high intake of antioxidants derived from the consumption of fruit and vegetables together with the benefits obtained from extra virgin olive oil and the moderate consumption of wine, make the Mediterranean Diet have multiple advantages.
It is has been proven that the Mediterranean Diet has beneficial effects with regard to:
1. Increase of life expectancy: the traditional Mediterranean Diet is associated to a longer life expectancy both for the population in general and for people with an ischemic heart disease.
2. Decrease of mortality: the consumption of a Mediterranean Diet is associated to an overall lower risk of mortality.
3. Ischemic heart disease, cardiovascular illness: the consumption of a Mediterranean type diet, rich in linolenic acid reduces 50% to 70% of cardiovascular risk.
4. Overweight or obesity: In different studies, it was proven that the adherence to a Mediterranean Diet was associated reduction of the probability of becoming overweight or obese and less risk of developing overall obesity after controlling several confusing variables.
5. Cancer: people ill with coronary artery disease that follow a Mediterranean Diet may be protected against developing certain tumours, especially urinary, digestive and throat tumours.