The role of antioxidants in the Mediterranean diet

Lipids. 2001;36 Suppl:S49-52. doi: 10.1007/s11745-001-0682-z.


Traditional Mediterranean diets, as opposed to North European and American diets, include a significantly large amount of plant foods; this notable difference between the two eating styles, despite the similarities among other classic risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) such as high plasma cholesterol levels, has been associated with a lower risk of developing the CHD and certain cancers. The involvement of excessive free radical production and the great number of epidemiologic studies linking antioxidant intake with a reduced incidence of the above-mentioned diseases indicate that dietary antioxidants likely play a protective role. Because diets in the Mediterranean are (or better yet, were) characterized by abundant plant foods (fruits, vegetables, breads, nuts, seeds; wine and olive oil), this article includes a review of the potential activities of dietary antioxidants, which are plentiful in Mediterranean diets, and wine as related to human disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants* / administration & dosage
  • Biological Availability
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Diet*
  • Health
  • Humans
  • Mediterranean Region
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Phenols / administration & dosage
  • Phenols / pharmacokinetics
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Antioxidants
  • Phenols
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Vitamins