The Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) has been reported to be protective against the occurrence of several diseases. Increasing evidence suggests that the MedDiet could counter diseases associated with chronic inflammation, including metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, obesity, pulmonary diseases, and cognition disorders. Adoption of a MedDiet was associated with beneficial effects on the secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines, antioxidant cellular and circulating biomarkers as well as with regulation of gene polymorphisms involved in the atherosclerotic process. The MedDiet has been considered for the prevention of cardiovascular and other chronic degenerative diseases focusing on the impact of a holistic dietary approach rather than on single nutrients. Epidemiological dietary scores measuring adherence to a MedDiet have been developed. This narrative review considers the results of up-to-date clinical studies (with a focus on the last 5 years) that evaluated the effectiveness of the MedDiet in reducing the prevalence of chronic and degenerative diseases.
Keywords: Mediterranean diet; atherosclerosis; cancer; cardiovascular disease; carotid intima–media thickness; inflammation; metabolic syndrome.
© The Author(s) 2014.