What we call the Mediterranean Diet is part of a lifestyle, dating from antiquity and founded in that region, that includes an eating pattern rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and olives.
The Mediterranean Diet espouses exercise and socializing along with nutrition to promote wholesome, healthy living.
An Ideal Eating Pattern
The Mediterranean Diet refers to the typical dietary pattern followed for thousands of years by those living in 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including parts of Greece and Southern Italy. It wasn’t until the 1960’s, however that scientists discovered a health enigma in that region.
Although fat consumption was high, adult life expectancy in the Mediterranean was among the highest in the world. And the prevalence of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, certain types of cancer and Type 2 diabetes was significantly lower than in northern European countries and the USA.
Since that initial observation decades ago, hundreds of additional peer-reviewed research publications have identified and documented an additional array of health benefits linked with to the traditional Mediterranean diet, including improved brain function, improved eye health, fewer symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, poor fertility, Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic syndrome, and low LDL cholesterol.
The Mediterranean Diet is the most researched eating pattern in the world. Legitimacy at the US Federal level came in 2010, when the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans," published only once every 5 years by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), identified the Mediterranean Diet as an ideal eating pattern for optimal health.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines renewed its recommendation of the Mediterranean Diet as a premier healthy eating pattern.
The Mediterranean Diet is rich in “functional” ingredients including polyphenols from olives, plant-based antioxidants, such as grape seed extract and resveratrol from grapes and lycopene from tomatoes. But most of us don’t eat these foods every day. We developed Olivino™ to provide the basics of the Mediterranean Diet, conveniently.
The first scientist to champion the health benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet was Dr. Ancel Keys, a physiologist at the University of Minnesota who developed nutritionally balanced K-Rations for soldiers in World War II.
In 1958 Dr. Keys launched the ambitious “Seven Countries Study” which lasted several decades and involved 12,000 healthy middle-aged men. The study revealed that the Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, pasta, bread and olive oil with meat, fish and dairy products used as condiments, was highly protective against heart disease even though the diet derived more than 35 percent of its calories from fat.
Over the ensuing 5 decades, thousands of studies, articles, books, recipes, and diet programs have been developed with a focus on the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. Clinical research has established a direct positive link between the Mediterranean Diet and improvement in cardiovascular function, cognitive health (reduced-Alzheimer’s disease and dementia), skin health, eye health, longevity and more.
We have dedicated a section of this website to scholarly papers specifying the results of many of these findings as well as new findings as they are released.