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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


URQUIAGA, Inés; ECHEVERRIA, Guadalupe; DUSSAILLANT, Catalina  and  RIGOTTI, Attilio. Origin, components and mechanisms of action of the Mediterranean diet. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2017, vol.145, n.1, pp.85-95. ISSN 0034-9887.

The Mediterranean diet is currently considered a healthy dietary pattern. It includes a great variety of foods, which are eaten in moderation and within a positive social environment. The generic term “Mediterranean diet” was born after the “Seven Countries Study” led by Ancel Keys around 1960. This dietary pattern is characterized by a high intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, white meats and olive oil. It also includes moderate consumption of fermented dairy products, low intake of red meat and drinking wine with moderation during meals. Nutritionally, this diet is low in saturated fats and animal protein, high in antioxidants, fiber and monounsaturated fats, and exhibits an adequate omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid balance. The main bioactive compounds, which explain the health benefits of this dietary pattern, are antioxidants, fiber, monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols and probiotics. This diet is not exclusively confined to the Mediterranean Basin. Central Chile has a Mediterranean climate and our agriculture and culinary traditions are similar to those found in Mediterranean countries. Therefore, it is fundamental to increase awareness about the richness of our natural produce as well as our culinary culture, which may bring many health benefits and improve the quality of life in our population.

Keywords : Diet, Mediterranean; Diet Therapy; Food; Quality of Life.

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